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Difference Between Cold and Flu

It can be difficult to identify the differences between cold and flu. However, both are viral-infected respiratory infections with numerous symptoms in common.

While both the common cold and the flu are contagious, cold symptoms are typically milder and resolve within a week to ten days.  


While most people who contract the flu recover within two weeks, the symptoms seem to be more severe, and serious consequences such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus or ear infections can occur.  In addition, antibiotics are ineffective in treating colds and the flu because viruses rather than bacteria cause them. Read on to understand the difference between a cold and the flu. 

Also, read the difference between dengue and COVID-19 here 


Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

1. How long does the influenza virus last?

While mostIn addition, according to people who contract the flu recover within two weeks, complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus or ear infections can occur.

2. Can Antibiotics be used to treat a cold or the flu?

Antibiotics are not an effective treatment choice for colds and flu since viruses rather than bacteria cause them.

3. How long does a cold take to develop symptoms?

Common cold symptoms often appear one to three days following virus contact.

4. Is there a vaccine for the common cold?

A common cold does not have a cure, although over-the-counter drugs may help alleviate symptoms. There is no vaccination for the common cold, but proper cleanliness can help minimize your chance of contracting one.

5. What symptoms do the common cold and flu share?

Body pains, headaches, sore throats, coughs, nasal congestion, sneezing, and fever are frequent symptoms of the common cold and flu.

Cold and Flu Symptoms

Both the flu and regular colds impact the respiratory system, while flu symptoms are often more severe.


While numerous viruses can cause a cold, the majority of them share relatively similar cold symptoms. 


Symptoms of the common cold and flu may include the following:

  • Muscle pains
  • Hheadache
  • Sore & Itchy throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion of the nasal passages
  • Sneezing
  • Fever

What is the difference between a cold and the flu? 


The flu is typically associated with a higher fever (102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), and cold symptoms present more abruptly.

Cold versus Flu Symptoms and Risk Factors

While influenza viruses are responsible for the flu, various other viruses (notably rhinoviruses) can produce a cold.


Certain populations, such as the very young, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system, are more prone to catching a cold or the flu.


Several factors can raise your risk of infection, including the following:


Children under six are more susceptible to colds and flu, particularly if they attend daycare or school. In addition, adults over the age of 65 are at an increased risk of developing the flu and its consequences.


Can you notice the difference between cold and flu during seasonal changes? 


Flu allergy peaks between October and May. However, flu viruses are present throughout the year.


Similarly, while most individuals have colds in the winter and spring, they can strike at any time. Adults, on average, get two to three colds every year, according to the CDC. (4)

Immune System Deficiency

If you have a weaker immune system, viruses can more quickly invade the body. In addition, certain chronic conditions, including cancer, HIV or AIDS, and autoimmune diseases, increase the likelihood of contracting a cold or the flu.


Smoking over an extended period makes your respiratory system more susceptible to cold and flu viruses and consequences.


Women in their second or third trimester are particularly vulnerable to flu problems. There has always been some debate over whether or not the immune system changes during pregnancy. Consult a Doctor with Assurance and do not take any un-prescribed or over-the-counter medicines. 

So how Is a Cold or Flu Diagnosis Made?

There is no precise test for determining the presence of a common cold. However, if you have more serious symptoms, your doctor may prescribe tests or X-rays to rule out specific conditions like strep throat or pneumonia.


Doctors occasionally utilize a quick influenza diagnostics blood test to detect the flu. Influenza viral antigens are detected using swab samples from the nose or back of the throat. Although test results are often available within 30 minutes, they are not always correct. Other, more accurate flu tests are available exclusively in hospitals or specialized laboratories.

Want to know more about a Disease Management Program that works best according to your schedule? Check out Assurance Disease Management Programs today!


Cold and Flu Duration-Are there any differences between cold and flu here? 


The duration of a cold or influenza virus infection varies according to the virus and the immune system's ability to combat illness. That is why the very young, the elderly, and persons with chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable to viral infections and their associated problems.


Cold symptoms normally resolve within seven to ten days. However, flu symptoms can continue for up to two weeks. Even after most symptoms have subsided, some may persist for many days or weeks longer, such as exhaustion and coughing.


"The most powerful weapon we have is our immune system. Proper nutrition, proper sleep and exercise, and a low-stress level can all help to strengthen the immune system. "Failure on any of these four areas might impair the immune system, extending a current cold or resulting in more frequent colds," 

Cold and Flu Treatment and Medication Options

Neither the flu nor the common cold has a cure. However, over-the-counter medications can help alleviate throat pain and coughing, decongest the nose and sinuses and alleviate body aches and headaches.


Cold medications and pain relievers can have adverse effects and offer health hazards, particularly for pre-existing diseases such as hypertension. According to healthcare consultants, adolescents and teenagers with flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin for pain or fever, as it can lead to a potentially fatal illness.


Remember that getting tested for both illnesses is critical at this point since COVID-19 is still a real threat that we cannot ignore, and failing to receive a timely diagnosis of cold or flu can have serious and even fatal consequences if not treated quickly. In addition, pre-existing illnesses or immunosuppressive factors can make the infections dangerous for those who are already ill.

How can Assurance help me?

Assurance by NanoHealth provides Disease Management Programs, including PCOD care, infertility, Heart care, etc.


Why us? Our AI-driven initiative helps timely identification, diagnosis, and treatment by pairing you with the proper care providers. 

Our disease care management programs include: 

  • Regular interactions with your health coach for treatment adherence. 
  • Periodic doctor consultations to ensure effective treatment. 
  • Routine blood tests to track the progress and improvements.

Book an appointment with healthcare specialists from anywhere & anytime today to get carefully assessed and curated disease management plans to headstart your healthy lifestyle. Then, head over to our website nhassurance.com and consult a specialist today!