Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Children's Hospital Logo
Connect With Us:

Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232


(615) 936-1000

Children's Hospital Logo
Home / News and Events / News Releases / Is it the flu or a cold?
Printer friendly version of this page  E-mail someone a link to this pageBookmark and Share
Is it the flu or a cold?
 
January 6, 2014

A cold and the flu are two different illnesses. A cold is relatively harmless and usually clears up by itself after a period of time, although sometimes it may lead to a secondary infection, such as an ear infection. But the flu can lead to complications, such as pneumonia and even death. What may seem like a cold, could, in fact, be the flu. Be aware of these differences:

Cold symptoms

Flu symptoms

Low or no fever
(although fevers with a cold are more common in children)

High fever

Sometimes a headache

Headache (very common)

Stuffy, runny nose

Clear nose or stuffy nose

Sneezing

Sometimes sneezing

Mild, hacking cough

Cough, often becoming severe

Slight aches and pains

Often severe aches and pains

Mild fatigue

Several weeks of fatigue

Sore throat
(colds often begin with a sore throat)

Sometimes a sore throat

Normal energy level or may feel sluggish

Extreme exhaustion

Complications
Sinus congestion, middle ear infection

Complications
Sinusitis, bronchitis, ear infection, pneumonia

 

Prevention

Many of the measures to prevent colds and flu are similar. Remember the letters in W.A.G. to help your children reduce their chances of getting sick.

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Get the annual vaccine to help prevent getting the flu. 

Try our online Flu Tool to determine whether you or someone under your care might have the flu.

 
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network