Both the cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Typically, the cold is milder than the flu and generally doesn’t result in serious health problems.
Sometimes it may be difficult to tell the difference between the two, but according the National Institutes of Health there are some obvious differences in symptoms.
Symptoms the cold and flu may have in common:
General aches & pains – colds sometimes have these, but they are common and often severe with the flu
Fatigue & weakness – colds are sometimes associated with this, but it usually occurs with the flu and can last up to 2-3 weeks
Stuffy nose & sneezing – common with colds and sometimes occurs with the flu
Sore throat – common with colds and sometimes occurs with the flu
Chest discomfort & cough – mild to moderate with a hack for colds, but can be more severe with the flu
Symptoms that are not shared by colds and flu’s:
Fevers – rare in colds, while usually occur with the flu (100°F-102°F, occasionally higher in younger children)
Headache – rare in colds, but common with the flu
Extreme Exhaustion – never occurs with colds, but it usually occurs with the flu, especially at the beginning of the illness
Complications of the cold vs. the flu:
The Cold – sinus congestion, middle ear infection, and asthma
The Flu – Bronchitis, pneumonia, and can be life threatening
If you think your child is suffering from the flu be sure to contact your child’s pediatrician right away.
If you’re still not sure, play it safe and talk to your child’s pediatrician.
This article was brought to you by ReliaDose® – The Easy & Accurate Way to Give Medicine to Your Baby.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Institutes of Allergy & Infectious Diseases – September 2005.