DON’T LET COLD AND FLU CONFUSE YOU
Because of the overlap in symptoms, people often mix up cold and flu. Understand the differences between cold and flu by considering the facts.
Cold & Flu Causes
The common cold is a viral infection that affects your upper respiratory tract (nose and throat). It’s generally not considered serious, and most people recover within a week or two.1 There are over 100 viruses that can cause the common cold.
The flu is a viral infection caused by the influenza virus that affects your entire respiratory system—nose, throat and lungs.2 Since these viruses constantly change, even if you’ve had the flu in the past, your body might be susceptible to a new strain this year.3
Compare Cold & Flu Symptoms4,5
Common; a hacking cough that brings up mucus
Mild to moderate
Moderate to severe
Common and often severe
Common; a cough that gets more wet with progression.
How Long Will You Be Contagious With Cold & Flu
You are most contagious for the first 2 or 3 days after symptoms first appear. However, symptoms may continue to linger.
You are most contagious for the first 1 or 2 days before symptoms first appear and 5 to 7 days after symptoms develop.
The Bottom Line on Cold & Flu
Cold symptoms are generally less severe than those associated with the flu and develop gradually.
Flu symptoms develop quickly6 and can range from mild to severe, and may sometimes lead to pneumonia, bronchitis and ear infections.2
- “Common Cold.” Symptoms & Causes. Web. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605
- “Influenza (flu).” - Mayo Clinic. Web. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/basics/definition/con-20035101
- “Influenza (flu).” Preventative Steps. Web. Retrieved August 7, 2018, from, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm
- “Key Facts About Influenza (Flu) & Flu Vaccine.” (2015). Retrieved August 7, 2018, from http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm
- “Cold Versus Flu.” (January 30, 2018). Retrieved August 7, 2018, from, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm