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Flu Symptoms vs Cold Symptoms

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Posted by on Saturday, January 29, 2011, 1:46
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The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in medicine are cold and flu. These two conditions are sometimes wrongly interchangeably used to refer to any kind of mild infection of the upper respiratory tract.

Flu Symptoms vs Cold Symptoms
Flu Symptoms vs Cold Symptoms

However, there are many differences when it comes to flu symptoms vs cold symptoms. Before we go on to discussing the differences between influenza and the common cold, let us see in brief what exactly is the common and cold and influenza.

Common Cold

As the name suggests, common cold is practically the most common infectious disease to affect any individual. This is a contagious viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. This is caused due to rhinovirus and coronavirus. The common symptoms of this condition include a constant sore throat, a runny nose and at times, a headache. A sore throat is usually the main symptom that helps to differentiate between flu symptoms vs cold symptoms. These symptoms generally resolve spontaneously within a few days, though they may last for up to three weeks as well.


Influenza, or flu as it is commonly called, is an infectious disease that is caused due to RNA viruses that belong to the family Orthomyxoviridae. This virus affects birds and mammals. This condition, though, affects the entire respiratory tract, also usually leads to systemic symptoms like fever, chills and body ache as well. This disease is a far more serious condition when compared to the common cold. One of the main flu symptoms vs cold symptoms that help differentiate between these two commonly misdiagnosed conditions is the fact that the systemic symptoms can become quite serious if not dealt with in time. It can lead to complications like nausea, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, etc. It can also lead to lung infections like pneumonia, which is a fatal complication.

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