While the flu and a cold might seem like interchangeable symptoms, there are several ways to distinguish the two. The flu is caused by one of two influenza viruses: type A or B. On the other hand, a cold can be caused by one of over 160 rhinoviruses. Therefore, it’s much more common to have a cold than the flu.
While you can catch the flu any time of the year, December through April are the peak months for flu season in the United States. On the other hand, Rhinoviruses usually peak around during the fall months and appear intermittently in the spring.
As the cold and flu viruses are respiratory viruses, similar symptoms can include a stuffy nose, sore throat, and cough or chest discomfort. However, flu symptoms can develop further into fever, chills, and fatigue and become more severe than a cold. Those with the common cold are more likely to have milder symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing and usually don’t have severe complications as with the flu.
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