Cold vs Flu: What’s the difference?

Updated 3rd Dec 2021

On average, adults get two to three colds per year, according to the CDC, and get a flu once every 5 years. They’re both incredibly common and have a lot of similarities.

Despite how many people get colds and flus, there are still a lot of misconceptions around them and quite a lot that people don’t know.

So to help you out, we’ve answered your most frequently asked questions at the end of this article. But first, the information we all need to know about the common cold and flu.



There are a lot of similarities between cold and flu symptoms, but the flu tends to be much more severe. In many cases the flu starts gradually and can at first seem like a cold. There are however some clear distinctions between the two, especially when looking at the type of cough, temperature, whether or not there is any mucus and if your stomach is affected.

Cold Symptoms

  • Blocked nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Raised temperature
  • Feeling congested (like there's pressure) in your ears and face
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell

Flu Symptoms

  • Sudden high temperature of 38C or above
  • Aches
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting


Home Remedies

With the cold and flu, there isn’t anything you can do to just get rid of the infection, but you can help get yourself better faster.

To speed up your recovery you can:

  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration
  • Get a lot of rest and sleep
  • Stay warm



There are a variety of cold and flu medications available over the counter from local pharmacies and their online stores.

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are common choices to treat many cold and flu symptoms, and are usually included in cold and flu medication.



Unfortunately it’s not enough to keep distance from someone with a cold, as you can become infectious before symptoms start. The best way to avoid catching a cold is to:

  • Wash your hands regularly with warm water and soap
  • Don’t share towels
  • Don’t drink from the same cup as anyone unwell
  • Don’t touch your eyes or nose
  • Stay fit and healthy

The most effective way to prevent the flu is through the flu vaccine.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re suffering a cough, cold, flu, or even covid-19, you can order over the counter medication to help ease your symptoms on our online store and have them delivered to you. Feel free to also contact your local pharmacy through the app for recommendations about what would be best for you. - Click here to open the app



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