How to Tell the Difference Between a Cold and The Flu

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness January 21, 2015

When people get sick during the flu season, it is usually due to an upper respiratory viral infection, such as the common cold or a strain of influenza. Still, it can be very difficult for many to identify whether an illness is the cold or flu since the basic symptoms are often the same. So what are the differences, how can you tell if you really have the flu?

Michael P. Angarone, DO, Northwestern Medicine infectious diseases specialist and assistant professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, talks about the differences between the flu and cold, and how to help prevent infections from both.


Flu vaccinations are still available for adults and children at most Northwestern Medicine outpatient locations. Learn more about the flu, including flu symptoms, risks, and prevention strategies.

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