Differences Between Flu and Cold

The flu and cold are respiratory infections. Because they have similar symptoms, they’re often confused. However, a cold is more prevalent and banal than the flu.

Symptoms

Symptoms and their severity may vary with age and health status.

Comparison of flu and cold symptoms
Symptoms Flu Cold

Fever

  • Common
  • Temperatures between 38 °C and 40 °C (between 100,4 °F and 104 °F)
  • Sudden onset
  • Rare

Cough

  • Common
  • Sudden onset
  • Common
  • Mild or moderate

Headache

  • Common
  • Sometimes intense
  • Rare

Aches and pains

  • Common
  • Sometimes intense
  • Rare
  • Mild

Fatigue

  • Common
  • Intense
  • Duration: A few days, sometimes longer
  • Common
  • Mild

Nausea and vomiting

  • Common in children
  • Rare in adults
  • Often accompanied by diarrhea and abdominal pain in children
  • Rare
  • Mild

Runny nose or nasal congestion

  • Rare
  • Common

Sneezing

  • Rare
  • Common

Sore throat

  • Common
  • Common

If You Have Symptoms

You may contact a nurse with questions anytime at Info-Santé 811.

In Case of Flu

Should you have symptoms of the flu, see the information on Flu for helpful advice on how to treat yourself.

Last update: September 21, 2017 12:53 PM

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