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The common cold and the flu are frequently confused even though they are two different conditions.

The most important difference between a common cold and the flu is that the former is not accompanied by fever and overall discomfort while the latter is. Flu is also characterized by secondary bacterial infections.  Common cold starts with nasal congestion, nasal flow (runny nose), sore throat and cough. A cold is usually treated symptomatically and clears up within a few days.

Influenza, or flu, is an infectious disease that is caused by an influenza virus, which starts with such symptoms as fever (39 C or above), severe muscle and joint pains, fatigue, exhaustion, shivering, headache and dry coughs. It may be accompanied by a sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and red, watery eyes. Stomachache, nausea and vomiting may be seen in certain cases. Even if the symptoms disappear in a week, exhaustion may persist for another two weeks.

Symptoms of the common cold:

Nasal congestion/runny nose,

  • A sense of fullness and pain in the throat
  • Dry cough
  • Exhaustion

Symptoms of influenza:


A rapid onset of fever or shivering,

  • Cough,
  • Muscle pain,
  • Headache,
  • Sore throat,
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose,
  • Fatigue/exhaustion and malaise

It is important to strengthen the immune system to avoid the flu and common colds. Regular sleep, a balanced diet and avoiding smoking are crucial for maintaining the body’s immune system. Hydration, and eating fibrous food rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamin C and zinc are important for protection against such diseases. In addition, one should keep away from people coughing and sneezing.