Several of their most characteristic symptoms are similar, which is why it is often difficult to tell them apart.
Flus and colds, however, are two different conditions, both because of their causes and effects.
The common cold has three main symptoms: nasal drip, sneezing and nasal congestion. Depending on the type of virus you have, it may also cause headaches, muscle pain, and coughing, among other symptoms. Fever is rare with the cold and when it does occur, it is low. It is generally triggered by cold weather, whether it is winter or the rainy season, and is transmitted by the droplets emitted from sneezing. This illness tends to go away in about seven days.
The flu, on the other hand, is stronger than a cold and affects more than just the nose. It is typically accompanied by a high fever that can last for a few days, strong muscle pain, weakness and low energy. Its incubation periods are short and it can easily pass through a community, mainly by coughing and sneezing. Its strongest symptoms tend to last between four and seven days, yet coughing and fatigue may remain for longer. If it not well cared for, complications can occur leading to lung or heart problems.
Preventing both illnesses is not a simple task provided how contagious it is. There are helpful practices, however, that can help reduce the risk of transmission. A few effective methods for doing so include frequent hand washing, not shaking the hand of someone who has the virus and disinfecting objects shared with others such as phones, computers and keyboards. When you are already sick, coughing and sneezing by covering yourself with a handkerchief can help prevent spreading the illness.