Do You Have a Common Cold or a Flu?

Their symptoms may be very much alike, but typically, based on our common sense, we know:

  1. It takes a lot longer to recover from a flu than from a cold.
  2. A flu usually brings us the body ache, fever, and significant malaise.
  3. A flu, if not treated properly, can easily cause complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

A cold rarely has symptoms such as fever or muscle ache.  The recovery time of a common cold is about a week while it may take a couple of weeks to recover from a flu.

Symptoms of a common cold:

Relatively minor symptoms such as cough, sore throat, or runny nose.  High fever is rare.  It takes about 2 to 5 days to recover from a cold.

Symptoms of a flu:

In addition to sore throat, runny nose, or cough, it may be accompanied by high fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and significant malaise and weakness.  It typically takes about 1 to 2 weeks to recover from a flu.


For a common cold, the treatment is mostly self-healing as a cold normally has lower possibility to cause complications.

A flu, however, may require a prescription of the antiviral drugs.  There is a higher chance for complications to arise such as pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis media, myocarditis and the like.


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