Both colds and flu present with headache, cough, and chest discomfort. The common cold often causes sneezing, sore throat, and congestion.
Complications from a cold tend to be minor and may include sinus pressure, sinus infection, and bronchitis. The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious viral infection that impacts the body's respiratory tract and is spread by inhaling air droplets containing the virus, sharing eating utentils or drinks, or handling other items touched by a person infected with the flu and then coming in personal contact through nose, mouth, or eyes. When compared to the common cold, the flu is more likely to cause high fever, fatigue, weakness, and body aches. Common complications from the flu include bronchitis and pneumonia. Symptoms can begin within 1-4 days after coming in contact with the virus and those most susceptible are infants, elderly, pregnant women, and those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and HIV. Regular hand washing is the recommended method of prevention and spreading both cold and flu.
Fever is one common symptom to a severe cold or flu. It is the body's reaction to help fight against invading organisms, illness, and infection. Cold and flu are common viral infections that can cause a fever. Bacterial infections, such as a urinary tract infection or pneumonia, can also cause a fever. Healthy adults and children can tolerate a fever of 103-104 °F for short periods of time without complications. There are some cases when a fever should be evaluated by a doctor, including one that occurs after travel to other countries, which may result from exposure to other diseases. Frequent or recurring fevers may require medical attention, such as 3 or more times in 6 months, or fevers that reappear after 7 days or 48 hours apart.