How Do I Know If I Have The Flu Or A Cold?

There is very little difference in the symptoms of a cold versus influenza (respiratory “flu”). The important point to remember is that both are caused by viruses. There are no medical treatments that cure these viruses so the illnesses generally just have to run their courses. Antibiotics do not help for viruses. Antibiotics are designed to treat bacteria.


The chart below list the symptoms that are most common with a cold or flu. You will notice that many of the symptoms occur in both illnesses. Flu is usually much more severe and people feel iller or “wiped out”.




Fever rare or low high
Runny nose occasionally common
Sneezing common occasionally
Sore throat common occasionally
Headache rare common
Aches and pains mild common/severe
Weakness mild common/severe
Fatigue/Exhaustion mild common/severe/early
Cough mild/moderate moderate/severe
Chest ache rare occasionally


Do I have a cold or flu?

Complications can occur with a cold or the flu. A cold can lead to a bacterial ear or sinus infections. Many times the ear or sinus infection is viral only, but it can progress to become bacterial. Once it is bacterial, antibiotics can be helpful. The flu can also lead to ear infections and sinus infections similar to a cold. However, the flu can lead to more severe complications like pneumonia or meningitis. To know more about home remedies for cold and flu

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