Healthy Living

Cold Vs. Flu: Can You Tell the Difference?

Cold Vs. Flu: Can You Tell the Difference?

Key Takeaways

  • Cold or the flu: You can only tell after a rapid flu test.
  • Millions of viruses cause the common cold but the most common ones are the Rhinovirsu, Corona virus, and the respiratory syncitial virus.
  • The flu is mainly caused by the Influenza virus.

A Common Cold: What is it?

A cold is one of the most common conditions that causes an individual to miss school and work. A common cold is responsible for 22 million missed school days each year. The symptoms of a common cold may resolve spontaneously and rapidly, or they can last for a few weeks. However, the symptoms are milder compared to the symptoms associated with the flu.

Once an individual contracts a cold, he or she develops an immunity against that specific thread. You may be wondering why we repeated get colds every year, and this is because there are millions of viruses that cause the common cold, and each time we are attacked by a different virus, we develop different symptoms.

Even though millions of viruses cause the common cold, the most common virus to cause an individual to develop a cold is the Rhinovirus and it is highly infectious. Other common cold causing viruses are the Corona virus and the espiratory syncytial virus.

A person tends to catch a cold during the winter or during a cold climate because viruses thrive in these environments, due to the low humidity. However, you can still catch a cold any time of the year.

When a person sick with a common cold coughs or sneezes in your face, tiny droplets from the infected individual's mouth is released in the environment. These droplets carry the infectious virus, and can be easily inhaled by you without warning.

The Seasonal Flu

The flu, also known as influenza, has similar symptoms as the common cold. However, the condition and the symptoms tend to be more severe. It can give rise to serious complications, like pneumonia. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals are more susceptible to develop such complications.

Unlike the common cold, the seasonal flu, as the name suggests, is often seasonal, usually blooming during the fall through spring. During the flu season, you can catch the flu the same way you would contract the common cold: inhaling infectious air droplets.

The common causes for the seasonal flu is influenza A, B & C. These strains vary from year-to-year, therefore new vaccines are produced each year.