Cold vs Flu, spot the difference

If you struggle to tell the difference between a cold and the flu, you ‘ re not alone. The only way you ‘ ll be able to tell the difference is by analysing your symptoms.

Cold symptoms can make you feel ill for a few days, whereas flu symptoms can make you feel ill for up to a few weeks, and can also result in serious health problems like pneumonia. Understanding the difference between these two wily winter foes can help you to better fight their effects, and ultimately enable you to recover quicker. So how do you differentiate between these two common afflictions?


Colds have very distinctive symptoms. It begins with a sore throat, which usually goes away after a day or two. It is then followed by nasal symptoms, a runny nose, congestion and a cough (by the fourth and fifth day). A slight fever is also possible. Children are more likely to have a fever with a cold. The first three days with cold symptoms are when you are most contagious, meaning you can pass it onto others.


The symptoms of the flu appear very quickly. These include a sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches, congestion and coughing . A cold rarely has symptoms of a fever above 38 °C. With the flu, you will probably have a fever initially, with gradual improvements occurring over two to five day –  however, it isn ‘ t unusual to feel tired for a week or more.