What's the difference between a cold and a flu?

Am a sick little Inky.

So, what’s the difference between a cold and a flu? They both suck…

one is spelled c o l d and the other f l u

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TSDMB…
Flu is short for a specific type of viral infection otherwise known as influenza. IIRC this word comes from italy and means bad star, named way back when it was believed that disease was caused by the influence of the stars. It is a viral infection of the respiratory tract that causes fever, headache, muscle aches, and weakness. There are three types of influenza virus. All are spread from person to person by inhaling infected droplets from the air. Type A is usually responsible for the large outbreaks and is a constantly changing virus. New strains of Type A virus develop regularly and result in a new epidemic every few years. Types B and C are fairly stable viruses. Type B causes smaller outbreaks, and Type C usually causes mild illness similar to the common cold. The incidence is 7 out of 1,000 people. As near as I can tell, a cold is a lesser infection of the upper repiratory tract (ears, nose & throat and usually comes with symptoms that are much less serious than a flu. I think a cold is confined to the head cavities (sinuses, inner ear, throat, etc.) whereas a flu affects pretty much all the major systems in your body, or at least it feels that way.


First of all, there is no ‘cold’ and there
is no ‘Flu.’ These are generic terms for a “group” of viruses. Colds=rhinovirus Flu=influenze virus.

No you don’t get the same virus twice, so what you did for one before won’t do the same for the next one.

Actually the flu is a lot worse. It can be life threatening. The common cold isn’t (for otherwise healthy people)

One key factor that almost never happens in a cold is a body ache. An internal aching not one caused by a head being stuffed up. These occur all over your body.

Back in 96 I had the flu and it was worse than when I had pnuemonia.

Colds come on slowly & flus come on pretty fast, that’s basically how you know which you got!

Also, if you have a fever, it’s probably not a cold.

If I go through a half a roll of Charmin blowing my nose, it’s a cold. If I use it for its intended purpose, it’s the flu.