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

Symptom Cold Flu
Fever Fever 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.
Coughing A 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).
Aches Slight body aches and pains
can be part of a cold.
Severe body aches and pains are common
with the flu.
Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly
present with a cold and
typically resolves spontaneously
within a week.

Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the
Chills Chills are uncommon with a
60% of people who have the flu experience
Tiredness Tiredness is fairly mild with a
Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing Sneezing is commonly present
with a cold.
Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden Symptoms Cold 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.
Headache A headache is fairly
uncommon with the cold.
A headache is very common with the flu,
present in 80% of flu cases.
Sore Throat Sore throat is commonly
present with a cold.
Sore throat is not commonly present with the
Chest Discomfort Chest discomfort is mild
to moderate with a cold.
Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.