What is the difference between the cold and the flu? The flu and the common cold have similar symptoms even though it can sometimes be quite confusing to identify if it is the common cold or the flu. The difference between the flu and the common cold are caused by different viruses in the respiratory tract. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can sometimes lead to death. The common cold is a moderate respiratory virus that has similar symptoms although, it does not have the severity of the flu it lasts about seven to ten days whereas the flu can last up to two weeks or longer.

The influenza vaccine is also known as the flu vaccine and it protects you from getting the virus that makes you sick. The vaccine does not protect against the common cold, it is made to protect against three Influenza viruses. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting the vaccine every year. Make sure to ask your healthcare provider about the flu vaccine, and if you are having any of the flu symptoms below be sure to contact your healthcare provider.

The symptoms of Influenza (flu) are:

·         High Fever

·         Severe Fatigue that lasts up to two weeks or longer

·         Nausea and vomiting

·         Muscle or body aches

·         Nasal congestion

·         Swollen lymph nodes

·         Dry cough

The common cold symptoms are:

·         Sneezing

·         Sore throat

·         Headache

·         Body aches

·         Cough


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC: Flu Verses the Common Cold Published August 11, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC: Vaccine Effectiveness-How Well Does The Flu Vaccine Work? https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/vaccineeffect.htm

Davis, Patrick Charles MD Medicine.Net Cold Vs. Flu: Similarities and Differences September 9. 2017. https://www.medicinenet.com/cold_vs_flu/article.htm