Is It a Cold or the Flu?

Which Bug Is It?

There’s no cure for the common cold or seasonal influenza. Both are caused by viruses, so antibiotics won’t help. Bad news when you’re sniffly, achy, and overall miserable. More than 200 viruses cause a cold, but fewer cause the flu. Which bug is bearing down on you?

Medically Reviewed By: Haines, Cynthia MD | Last Review Date:

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Medical References

  1. “Colds and the Flu.” American Academy of Family Physicians. (http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/infections/cold-flu/073.html);
  2. “Colds and the Flu: Tips for Feeling Better.” American Academy of Family Physicians. (http://www.aafp.org/afp/20061001/1179ph.html);
  3. “Stopping the Spread of Germs at Home, Work and School.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/stopgerms.htm);
  4. “Common Cold.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000678.htm);
  5. “Flu (Influenza): Treatment.” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. (http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/Flu/understandingFlu/treatment.htm);
  6. “Cough and the Common Cold: ACCP Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines.” M.R. Pratter. Chest. 2006, no. 129, 72S-4S.;
  7. “Influenza Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.; “Is It a Cold or the Flu?” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health.;


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