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A 27-year-old member asked:

How are the flu and the common cold different?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bonnie Bock
Infectious Disease 48 years experience
Flu is more severe: Influenza is a more severe illness with chills, muscle aches, fever, cough; occurs primarily in winter months, is preventable with a vaccine; & antiviral medications can treat influenza.Common colds occur year around, cause sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, low grade fever;no specific pescription treatment is available. Antibiotics are only for bacterial complications for viral ilnesses.
Dr. Brian Affleck
ENT and Head and Neck Surgery 31 years experience
Flu: The flu is caused by the influenza virus. It can cause nasal congestion, runny nose, fever, nausea, emesis and diarrhea. The common cold can be caused by a variety of different viruses, but the symptoms are usually in the upper airways and don't necessarily cause nausea or emesis or diarrhea. We also have vaccines for the flu. There is no such treatment for common cold.

Similar questions

A 45-year-old member asked:

How are the common cold and the flu distinguished from each other?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Gurmukh Singh
Pathology 50 years experience
Different viruses: Flu usually causes more severe symptoms such as fever, chills muscle aches and may lead to pneumonia. Common cold usually causes just causes a runny nose and headache.
A 39-year-old member asked:

How to know if I have the flu or could it just be a common cold?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 26 years experience
Flu vs cold: According to Mayo Clinic Flu sxs may include “Fever over 100F (38C), Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs, Chills & sweats, Headache, Dry Cough, Fatigue and weakness, Nasal Congestion.” Common cold symptoms include: Cough, congestion, watery eyes, sneezing, sore throat, mild headache, low grade fever & mild body aches.
A 44-year-old member asked:

What are signs and symptoms of the flu versus the common cold?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Asaf Presente
Pulmonary Critical Care 17 years experience
Overlap but severity: Most people have frequent "cold" which are usually caused by rhinovirus, adenoviruses and others small viruses - the body usually confines these to the upper respiratory tract and usually fights them off in 2-5 days. Over 5-10 days the flu can spread down into the lungs, causes high fevers, muscle pain, joint pain and more rarely lead to severe pneumonia requiring ventilator support and death.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016
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