Difference between Cold and Flu

Key difference: Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by the RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. The common cold, on the other hand, can be caused by over 200 different viruses. The most common virus blamed with causing the cold are the rhinoviruses.

Both cold and flu are respiratory illnesses that are caused by different pathogens. Many people cannot tell the difference between a cold and a flu, even when they are they suffering from one. This is mainly true as both illnesses have similar symptoms.

The main difference between flu and cold is the fact that they are caused by different pathogens. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is caused by the RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. Orthomyxoviridae are various types of influenza viruses. The common cold, on the other hand, can be caused by over 200 different viruses. The most common virus blamed with causing the cold are the rhinoviruses. The common cold is also known as nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, or acute coryza.

The common cold is an infectious viral disease that affects the upper respiratory tract, mainly the nose. Common symptoms of the cold include coughing, sore throat, runny nose and fever. Fever, is usually not present in adults, but some may run a slight fever. It usually does affect children. The symptoms usually last between seven to ten days and are automatically treated, as the white blood cells fight off the infection. Some symptoms may even last up to three weeks, but this is very rare. People are usually contagious during the first three days of the infection.

There is no cure for the cold; however the symptoms can be treated. There are many home remedies aimed at reducing the severity of the cold’s symptoms. The common cold is considered to be the most frequent infectious disease in humans. An average adult contracts the cold two to three times a year, whereas an average child can contract anywhere between six and twelve colds. The common cold has been affecting humans since antiquity.

Influenza, on the other hand, is a completely different infection and is much worse than a common cold. The symptoms of the flu include chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches, which are often severe, coughing, weakness, fatigue and general discomfort. Most flu symptoms usually do improve over two to five days. However, one can feel run down for a week or more. Influenza can be prevented with a flu vaccine.

Furthermore, the flu can occasionally lead to pneumonia, either direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. A warning sign, if the flu is transgressing to pneumonia, is when the affected person appears to be getting better and then relapses with a high fever. This is a warning sign for bacterial pneumonia. Another warning sign is if the person starts to have trouble breathing.

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