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Do you have a cold or flu?

10 July 2013


Some people call everything the flu.  One thing is for sure, we feel terrible when experiencing both of them.  Here is a little comparison chart to assist you with clarifying what you may have.

Key Feature Colds Flu
Cause Over 100 viral strains; commonly rhinovirus 3 common strains of influenza virus, serotypes ABC
Infection Site Upper Respiratory tract Entire Respiratory Tract
Onset of symptoms Gradual Onset 1-3 days Sudden, within a few hours
Fever and Chills Occasionally usually less than 39 degrees Definite characteristic More than 39 degrees
Headache Frequently, usually mild Frequently, can be quite severe
Generalised Aches and Pains Mild if at all Definite Characteristic. Often severe and effecting the entire body
Cough, Chest congestion Mild to moderate, with hacking cough Quite common, may become quite severe
Sore Throat Very Common, usually mild May be present
Runny, Stuffy Nose Very common, Accompanied with bouts of sneezing May be present
Fatigue, weakness Mild if at all Yes, may be quite severe and last a few weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Frequently, usually in the early stages
Seasonality All year round, Peaks in winter Mostly Autumn and Winter

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

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