Cold vs. Flu

Cold vs. Flu

Viral Cold

Flu

Symptoms Develop over a few days Rapid onset within a three to six hour period. Symptoms occur suddenly and are severe.
Fever Most people do not have a fever with a cold. Fevers associated with a cold are usually low grade: below 101. If present, aches are mild in nature. Nearly everyone will run a fever or greater than 101, up to four days.
Aches If present, aches are mild in nature. Severe aches and pains are common.
Fatigue Usually mild, if present. Commonly present and moderate to severe.
Chills Uncommon. Most people will have chills.
Cough Usually hacking and productive. Cough is nonproductive (dry).
Sneezing Commonly present with a cold. Uncommon with the flu.
Head congestion Commonly present and resolves spontaneously within a week. Not always present.
Sore throat Commonly present. Not common with the flu.
Chest discomfort If present, mild to moderate. Severe chest discomfort is common.
Headache Usually mild to moderate and associated with sinus pressure. Almost always present and can be moderate to severe.
Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea Uncommon, rare. Can be present.