What’s the difference between a cold and the flu?

Can you tell the difference between symptoms of the flu and the common cold? Flu symptoms typically come on suddenly and include fever, aches, chills, and tiredness – but how do they differ from cold symptoms?

Cold & Flu Symptoms Chart

FeverFever is rare with a cold.Fever is usually present with the flu in up to
80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100
degrees Fahrenheit or higher for 3-4 days is
associated with the flu.
CoughingA hacking, productive (mucous producing) cough.
Is often present with a cold.
A non-productive (non-mucous forming) cough
is usually present with the flu (sometimes
referred to as a dry cough).
AchesSlight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.Severe body aches and pains are common
with the flu.
Stuffy NoseStuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and
typically resolves spontaneously within a week.
Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
ChillsChills are uncommon with a cold.60% of people who have the flu experience
TirednessTiredness is fairly mild with a cold.Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
SneezingSneezing is commonly present with a cold.Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden SymptomsCold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu
hits hard and includes sudden symptoms
like high fever, aches, and pains.
HeadacheA headache is fairly uncommon with the cold.A headache is very common with the flu,
present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore ThroatSore throat is commonly present with a cold.Sore throat is not commonly present with the
Chest DiscomfortChest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.