Difference Between Cold And Flu

Cold and flu are quite similar – as both as respiratory illnesses. They even share the same set of symptoms. However, the similarities end there. Read on to understand the difference between cold and flu:

Difference Between Flu And Cold




Symptoms of flu are more intense

Symptoms of cold are much milder than the flu


If left untreated, flu can lead to serious complications – such as pneumonia. People with chronic heart disease might see their condition deteriorated. Individuals that have asthma may be at an increased risk of asthma attacks if they contract flu. Other non-life threatening complications include ear and sinus infections

Colds do not generally lead to health complications. However, this may not hold true if the affected individual has a compromised immune system.


Fever, tiredness, chills, bodyache, headache, cough, runny or blocked nose.

low-grade fever, runny or blocked nose.


Usually needs a longer recovery period than cold

Colds have generally a shorter recovery period than flu

Flu and COVID-19

The flu and COVID-19 are known to have a few symptoms in common, however we need to understand that:

  • Flu is usually caused by the influenza virus while COVID-19 is caused by SAR-CoV-2 Virus (or the coronavirus)
  • COVID-19 is highly infectious and can spread much faster than the flu
  • Reports also show that COVID-19 takes longer for the symptoms to show up.

Frequently Asked Questions on Flu and Cold


What is the difference between Cold and Flu?

Cold and flu are respiratory illnesses with a few similar symptoms. However, symptoms of flu are more intense than the common cold. Flu also has an increased risk of developing life-threatening complications such as pneumonia.


Is the flu more virulent than cold?

Yes. The symptoms of flu are more intense and can turn into life-threatening complications if left untreated.


What are some of the symptoms of the flu?

Some of the most common symptoms of the flu include fever, tiredness, chills, bodyache, headache, cough, and running or blocked nose.


What are some of the symptoms of the common cold?

A common cold will have mild symptoms such as running nose/ blocked nose, and in some cases – a low grade fever.

Explore more differences between articles, or other fascinating concepts – from the morphology of flowering plants to the anatomy of the human body only at BYJU’S Biology.


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