Cold or Flu? Knowing the Difference Is Important

“The flu may start very similar to a cold.”


It is important to know the difference between cold and flu because it does make a big difference.

The flu, or influenza, is one of the contagious respiratory illnesses. It is caused by viruses that infect your upper respiratory tract and sometimes the lungs.

Since 2010, the flu has resulted in 9.3 million to 49 million illnesses each year in the United States, according to

Each year, on average, five to 20 percent of Americans get the flu and it is estimated that it results in 31.4 million OPD visits, with more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

The flu can come on suddenly, with early symptoms of fatigue, body pain, fever, chills, cough, and sore throat. For some people, influenza can be deadly.

It is important to note that the flu is caused by viruses, just like the common cold. However, the severity of the flu is intense than cold. Also, the risk of complications with the flu is much higher.

Registered Pharmacist Victor Wong says, “The flu may start very similar to a cold – runny and stuffy nose with a sore throat. However, very quickly symptoms could change to a high fever, body aches, chills/sweats and extreme fatigue.”

Please note that people with a compromised immune system are more likely to suffer from complications of the flu, such as pneumonia, chest infections, and even cardiorespiratory issues.

Children, older people and pregnant women should be extra careful when the flu season runs its course.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated.

“You should also be aware of the holiday season approaching,” explains Wong. “When people gather inside the chances of spreading germs increase. Also, as we travel we are more susceptible to spreading sickness. Keep your hands clean and avoid contact with sick people.”