Cold Symptoms

Do I Have a Cold or the Flu?

Millions of Americans catch a cold every year in the United States. In fact, adults have an average of two to three colds every year, while children have even more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the most common symptoms associated with the common cold include a sore throat, runny nose, headaches, coughing and sneezing. For most people, these symptoms clear up within seven to 10 days. If you have a weakened immune system, however, it can take you longer to recover.

Flu Symptoms

Between 5 and 20 percent of Americans get the flu every single year, according to WebMD. Your odds of catching the flu increase in the winter months: peak flu season runs from December through February. Some of the most common symptoms associated with the flu include a sudden fever, a high temperature — typically, 100 degrees Fahrenheit and above — body aches, fatigue, sore throat, loss of appetite and difficulty sleeping. The flu can last between one and two weeks, although the most severe symptoms usually clear up within two to three days.

Signs That You Might Have a Cold

If your symptoms have developed gradually, it's likely you have a cold. Flu symptoms come on much quicker than the cold, and they are typically more severe. Also, a sore throat and nasal congestion are more pronounced if you have a cold.

Signs That You Might Have the Flu

If you have a high temperature, it's likely you have the flu. The common cold rarely produces a fever with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, body aches are more severe if you have the flu. You might feel discomfort and pain in different areas of your body, and these symptoms might linger for a few days.
Although cold and flu symptoms are similar, it's important to know the difference between these two conditions. If you are still in doubt, consult with a medical professional, who can provide you with the right treatment based on your symptoms.