Are you feeling sick with a cough, sore throat, headache and sniffle? Do you know if you have a cold or the flu? Know the difference and treat accordingly. 

woman checking her temperature with thermometer

The difference between them

  • Flu gives rise to a high-grade fever; a cold may give rise to a mild fever
  • Flu generally starts with a dry throat and nose; a cold generally starts with a runny nose
  • Flu can cause muscle and whole-body ache; colds affect the nose and throat
  • Flu may lead to severe exhaustion; colds, mild exhaustion
  • Flu may lead to severe chest discomfort and cough; cold leads to mild to moderate chest discomfort, hacking cough
  • Flu can lead to more severe complications, such as pneumonia, which is life- threatening; whereas cold in severe cases causes sinus congestion and infection
  • Both infections are highly endemic and can be easily spread from close contact with someone who has the virus, such as breathing in droplets of air when someone coughs or sneezes. 



o   To prevent getting cold, wash hands often, avoid close contact with a person who has a cold.

o   Stay away from an individual who has flu symptoms, and get yourself vaccinated annually with the flu vaccine. 

 Treatment for cold and flu includes

o   Take rest or sleep if you are tired because your immune system is busy fighting the infection and the fever can be taxing.

o   Drink lots of fluids.

o   Lozenges and warm drinks may help soothe a sore throat.

o   Take an antiviral medication prescribed by a physician for flu, which can reduce the severity and duration of the flu. 

To stop the spread of illnesses:     

o   Use tissues when you cough or sneeze and dispose them properly.

o   Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, particularly when you’ve met someone who is sick.

o   Prevent coughing or sneezing over others or over surfaces, such as tables, benches and door handles.

o   Avoiding touching your eyes and nose.