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Flu and cold are both caused by viruses, but completely different ones. There are many viruses that can cause a cold, but only a few that can cause a flu. Cold symptoms are not sudden and 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.

  • Fever is rare with a cold, but present with the flu
  • A temperature of 38C or higher for 3-4 days is associated with the flu
  • Unexplained chills and tiredness can be a sign of the flu
  • Severe aches and pains are common with the flu

  • A hacking, mucus producing cough is often present with a cold
  • A dry, non-mucus producing cough is usually present with the flu

  • Sneezing is commonly present with a cold and rare with a flu

  • Usually accompanies a cold and typically resolves within a week
  • Can be present with the flu

  • Pain and inflammation in the throat that usually comes with a cold
  • Not as common, but can be present with the flu

  • Pain or abnormal sensations along the front of the body between the neck and upper abdomen
  • Mild to moderate with a cold
  • Severe with the flu

  • Uncommon with a cold, but present in 80% of flu cases

    For further information about your symptoms, contact the following:

    For more urgent care, please go to your GP or the emergency room

    Call 111 for more information, or 999 for a life-threatening emergency

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