It's cold in here...

OK, I’ll bite. It’s a stupidly easy question, I know…

…but what’s the difference between a cold and a flu?

If you’re lying on the sofa with a cold and there’s a £20 note on the lawn you’ll get up and pick it up, if you’re lying on the sofa with the 'flu you won’t even realise the note is there.

Both are viruses. The main difference between the two lies in the type.

And to add a further level of distinction: with flu, you’re worried you might die; with “gastric flu” you’re worried you might not.

Actually, most (all?) of what’s called ‘gastric flu’ is not a flu (or at least not related to common flu), but food poisoning. Still not a very nice experience, as I’m the first to admit.

No, there’s a lot of viruses out there that cause gastro-enteritis. It’s not influenza, but it’s pretty nasty. WAG: At least half the cases of nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea are viral infections, half are “food poisoning” (which is a wide topic in itself with multiple causes).

But you’re right, there is no “stomach flu”.

And as one poster said in another thread: Imagine a model train chugging around a track in a hobbyist’s basement. That’s a cold. Then imagine the most powerful locomotive in the world rushing at you at full throttle. That’s influenza.


What are water borne parasites like Cyrptosporidium and Giardia? Or water borne bacteria like E. coli or Vibrio cholerae? Food poisoning?

My doctor told me last week a brief list of flu symptoms. He counted off; fever, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, an overall aching, and the feeling that you’ve been run over by a truck. (I might have missed one or two, and my doc, trying not to worry me, didn’t mention death.) I’ve had it a couple of times, and that sounds about right.

On the other hand, if you have all that plus a strong desire to ride a train, you may have the dreaded Amtraks. :wink: