Cold Versus Flu

With all of the Covid news currently, many of us – elders and younger adults – are more cognizant of our health and lifestyle choices. Sometimes we can all jump to invalid conclusions based on our hyper sensitivity to relatively minor sniffles, sneezes, aches and pain.

As a matter of review, I thought it appropriate to conduct a simple comparison of everyday cold symptoms, versus flu symptoms.

The flu is different from a cold. Cold symptoms are usually milder than flu symptoms, and people with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose than people with the flu.

A common cold can start with the following:

  • Runny nose (clear and watery)
  • Sneezing (not just a random sneeze; consistent over 1-2 days)
  • Fatigue (a rundown feeling; not fatigue from too much exercise)
  • Cough

To differentiate, some common symptoms of the flu include:

• Fever or chills (older adults may not have a fever)

• Cough

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle or body aches

• Headache

• Fatigue

• Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

Once your elderly parents are feeling better, they may be eager to get back to normal routines and get out into the world. However, they may be contagious for over 5 days after symptoms appear. Probably best to limit any outside contact during this time period.

(In the case of viruses like COVID-19, you might be contagious while being in contact with your friends/family for 10 – 14 days prior to symptoms appearing.)

JD Miller

About JD Miller

John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. Phone: (781) 378-2164 Email: Website:

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