Cold vs. Flu Symptoms: Understand the Difference

What is a cold?

  • Symptoms build over 48 hours
  • Runny nose + watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose + congestion
  • Sneezing + coughing
  • Symptoms may last 3-10 days

What is the flu?

  • Fast onset symptoms (especially fever and chills)
  • Fever + chills
  • Body aches + pains
  • Weakness + fatigue
  • Symptoms may last 7-14 days and may linger up to 3 weeks

What is the same?

Both colds and flu are considered upper respiratory infections of the nose, sinuses, and throat. Symptoms can be similar, so keep an eye on what’s bothering you most.

Achoo! The moment you experience that first symptom can leave you wondering—is this the common cold, or the infamous flu?

Translating and treating your cold or flu symptoms shouldn’t add to your discomfort. While there are many similar symptoms between a cold and the flu, symptoms of the flu are quite unique.

How to treat the flu or a common cold

Both colds and the flu require lots of rest, fluids and time to run their course, but there are some extra things you can do at home to help relieve symptoms, including the following. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.

Bye, bye dry

Bye, bye dry

Use a humidifier to keep the air moist and ease throat and nose discomfort.

A soothing sip

A soothing sip

Warm liquids like tea and chicken soup can help a sore, scratchy throat.

Keep it clean

Keep it clean

Wash your hands to avoid spreading infection.