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A 28-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between cold, flu and catarrh?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Marsha Davis
Internal Medicine 29 years experience
Depends: Depends on what you mean by the words. A cold can be caused by many different kinds of viruses. Influenza which some call flu is a particular virus. Sometimes when people vomit others will say they have the flu. "catarrh" is a cultural word that means a runny nose that is usually associated with a cold.
Dr. Bernstein Joel
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 61 years experience
Viral infections: A cold is a viral infection involving the nasal mucosa (lining). It may sometimes develop into a sinusitis. It is a self limited illness and is super-infected with bacteria in about 1%-2% of cases. Flu is a viral infection which is more systemic and involves the whole body with multiple symptoms of fever and generalized aches. Catarrh is mucus secretion from the nose and usually is viral.

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Last updated Jun 5, 2018
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