Home > Difference Between the Flu and a Cold
The flu and the common cold are both types of upper respiratory infections (URIs). Both are caused by viruses. But the flu is not the same as the common cold.
Flu symptoms are usually much worse than a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and lasts longer.
Symptoms may include:
The symptoms usually are the worst for the first 3 or 4 days. In most healthy people, the flu will go away in 5 to 7 days. But it can take 1 to 2 weeks to get completely better.
The flu usually occurs during the late fall and winter.
Cold symptoms usually come on over the course of a couple of days.
Colds usually last 1 to 2 weeks. As the cold gets worse, your nose may get stuffy with thicker mucus.
You can catch a cold at any time of year, but they are more common in late winter and early spring.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Current as ofMarch 20, 2017
Current as of:
March 20, 2017
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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