Cold vs the flu and how you can know

Image courtesy of CDC.

Cold vs. Flu

So, you’re lacking energy, you’ve got some chest discomfort, and you’ve been sneezing. How on earth do you determine if the ailment you’re suffering from is due to a cold vs. the flu? After all, both cold and flu share the same symptoms; however, there are differences. The CDC has a handy chart to help differentiate between the two ailments (see image). But, if you’d prefer a longer answer, keep reading.

What is a Cold?

In general, the symptoms for colds are less intense than those brought about by the flu. If you have a cold, you are much more apt to have a runny or stuffy nose. You may lack energy, sure, but you most likely won’t be so drained as to be forced to remain bedridden the whole day. Keep in mind, too, that cold symptoms come on gradually, rather than hitting you like a ton of bricks.

What is the Flu?

The flu can include any of the symptoms associated with a cold, but (and again generally speaking) flu symptoms are more intense, such as fevers, headaches, fatigue, and chills. Unlike the common cold, which comes on gradually, symptoms for the flu tend to come as if out of nowhere, bludgeoning you with ailments. One other thing that differentiates the flu from a cold is the potential for additional health problems, such as pneumonia and hospitalization.


Getting sick is never fun. Not only does it feel miserable, but it’s even more difficult to get through your busy days. If you’re not sure if you are suffering from a cold or the flu, we can help. Give us a call or stop in at one of our six convenient locations for a diagnosis, and if necessary, a prescription to help mitigate the symptoms. We hope you feel better soon!