Cold vs influenza: What's the difference?

Although people tend to lump "colds" and influenza (commonly called "the flu") together, they really are distinct infections, caused by different viruses. A very bad cold cannot tum into influenza (although a person with a cold could certainly come down with influenza if he or she came in contact with influenza virus).

How can you tell the difference between a cold and influenza? The following comparison points out the similarities and differences. Of course, in the case of any severe or long-lasting illness, you should contact your doctor.

 Symptom
 Cold
 Influenza
 Fever Rare in adults and older children
Usually 102 F, but can go up to 104 F. and usually lasts 3 -4 days
 Headache
 Rare
 Sudden onset and can be severe
 Muscle aches
 Mild
 Usually, and often severe
 Tiredness /weakness
 Mild  Can last 2 or more weeks
 Extreme exhaustion
 Never  Sudden onset and can be severe
 Runny nose
 Often  Sometimes
 Sneezing
 Often  Sometimes
 Sore throat
 Often  Sometimes
 Cough
 Mild, hacking cough
 Usually, and can become severe