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Cold and Flu Differences

Q: What's the difference between a cold and the flu?

Dr. Donnica:
The symptoms of flu are generally much worse than a bad cold. Check the table below for a comparison of flu and cold symptoms:

Symptoms of the Flu Symptoms of a Cold
Onset sudden gradual
Fever high (over 101 F); lasts 3-4 days rare
Cough nonproductive; can become severe hacking
Headache prominent rare
Muscle aches characteristic; can be severe slight
Fatigue/weakness Can last 2-3 weeks very mild
Extreme exhaustion early and prominent never
Chest discomfort Common mild to moderate
Stuffy nose sometimes very common
Sneezing sometimes very common
Sore throat sometimes very common

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Created: 10/16/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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