Colds vs. flu - what's the difference?

Jun 03, 2017

Colds vs. flu - what's the difference?

Have you got a cold, or have you been hit by the flu virus? It’s a question many of us ask – although when we’re ill, we don’t always have the brain power or energy to think too hard about it!
So what is the difference between a cold and flu? Just use our handy guide

What is a cold?

Incredibly, there are more than 100 viruses that can cause a cold. And once it takes hold, you know what dreaded symptoms to expect:

  • runny nose (with mucus turning from white to green)
  • blocked nose
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • sneezes
  • sniffles
  • general feeling of 'blah'

You may also have a fever and fatigue, and experience symptoms for up to a week or even longer.

What is a flu?

Perhaps the reason we get confused about colds and flu is because they have the same symptoms.
However, a flu will usually hit you harder and faster. It’s also usually accompanied by:

  • high fever of up to 40 degrees Celsius
  • sore and aching muscles
  • extreme fatigue
  • dry cough
  • sweats
  • chills
  • headache

Severe flu symptoms can be problematic. So if you also have extreme headaches, chest pain, an unusually high fever, or also have a chronic disease like asthma, you should seek medical attention immediately.

How to treat a cold or flu

Whether you have a cold or flu, basic treatment is the same – get some rest, drink plenty of water, and avoid sugar and alcohol. You can buy over-the-counter fixes for a cold. And if you have a flu, you may be prescribed antiviral medication.
Bear in mind that avoiding a cold or flu is far more effective than treating it. So wash your hands throughout the day to avoid transference of germs. Drink plenty of water. Eat a healthy diet to ensure a strong  immune system. And get plenty of sleep.

Related Topics

Conditions,  Health Tips,  Health & Wellness,  Health Products,  Health Research,  Recipes,  Interviews,  Events,  Practitioner Resources,  Courses,  Careers,  Online Health,  Organic Food,  Obesity

Wellness inspiration of the week

People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills… There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind… So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself. — MARCUS AURELIUS