Cold/Flu Comparison Chart

Signs and Symptoms



LOCATION OF INFECTION: Upper respiratory Whole respiratory system
CAUSED BY: >200 strains of viruses (rhinovirus-most common)

3 strains of viruses:
· INFLUENZA A– causes the deadly influenza pandemic that strikes every 10-40 years (mutates regularly)
· INFLUENZA B–causes smaller, more localized outbreaks (mutates regularly)
· INFLUENZA C–less common and causes only mild symptoms

ONSET: Gradual (over a day or two) Sudden (within a few hours)
FEVER: Occasional Characteristic; high (over 101F); lasting 2-4 days
HEADACHE: Frequent & usually less severe Prominent & often severe
GENERAL ACHES; PAINS: Slight Usual, often severe
FATIGUE; WEAKNESS: Quite mild Can last up to 2-3 weeks
EXTREME EXHAUSTION: Never Early and prominent
STUFFY NOSE: Very common Sometimes
SORE THROAT: Common Sometimes
CHEST DISCOMFORT; COUGH: Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe
SEASON (Viruses thrive in the cold seasons) All year round, with peak in the Winter Most cases between November & February
CAN THE DOCTOR HELP? Only by treatments that lesson the symptoms Antiviral prescription medications have a modest effect on reducing symptoms but can be expensive. Uncomplicated influenza often resolves within 7-10 days.