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Symptoms of the Cold and Flu

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Updated April 10, 2014

Symptoms of the Cold and Flu

Cold and Flu Symptoms

Photo: Dimitri Vervitsiotis / Getty Images

Symptoms of the Common Cold:

The common cold can cause different symptoms in different people. Many different viruses cause colds so that may play a role in our symptoms.

Recognizing the symptoms of the common cold is important for a few reasons. If you realize what symptoms are bothering you the most, you will know which medications will help relieve them. You may also prevent unnecessary doctor visits if you know that you have a cold. Since your doctor cannot cure your cold, there is no reason to see the doctor unless your symptoms last longer than two weeks.

Symptoms of the Common Cold

Symptoms of the Flu:

Recognizing the symptoms of the flu is even more important than recognizing the symptoms of a cold. Although they are similar, you should take note of a few key differences. The severity of your symptoms will usually give away the fact that you have the flu and not a cold.

Realizing that you may have the flu quickly is vital. Seeking treatment from your doctor within the first 48 hours could mean the difference in the length and severity of your flu.

Symptoms of the Flu

Difference Between the Cold and Flu:

If you still are not sure whether you have a cold or the flu, this guide will help you decide. See it all on one page, the difference between the common cold and the flu.

Do I Have a Cold or the Flu?

Quiz: Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Symptom Checker:

About.com's Symptom Checker can help you figure out what type of illness you may be suffering from based on the symptoms you have. It is very easy to follow and will give you some great information based on your specific symptoms.

Symptom Checker

Evaluate Your Cold and Flu Symptoms:

Still not sure if you have a cold or the flu? These step by step guides will help you evaluate each symptom to determine the possible cause, when you might need to see a doctor and treatment options.

Common Cold and Flu Complications:

Colds and the flu typically last about a week. But if your symptoms have lasted longer than that and start to change, you may be suffering from a secondary infection. These common complications of the cold and flu can leave you feeling pretty miserable.

Complications of the Cold and Flu

More About Cold and Flu:

What are the Cold and Flu?
Find out more about the common cold and the flu virus.

Diagnosing the Cold and Flu
What to expect when you get a diagnosis of the common cold or the flu.

Treating the Cold and Flu
There are many treatment options available to help you deal with your symptoms. Learn about all the options to help you feel better fast.

Preventing the Cold and Flu
The best way to deal with your symptoms is to prevent them. Get tips on preventing the cold and flu before they start.

Sources:

"Flu, NIAID Fact Sheet." National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 17 Nov 2006. National Institutes of Health. 26 May 2007.

"Common Cold, Symptoms." National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 27 Sep 2006. National Institutes of Health. 24 May 2007.

Related Video
Prevent or Treat Cold and Flu
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  5. Differences in the Symptoms of the Cold and Flu

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