Actually, we are all somehow experts when it comes to the topic of cold, because caught on average twice a year and such. And yet there is conceptual confusion when it comes to colds and flu. In colloquial terms we do not distinguish cleanly between flu ("influenza") and cold ("influenza infection") – although these are two different diseases. Symptoms are the same at first glance, but there are clear differences throughout the course of the infection and treatment.
Cold or flu: the symptoms.
A cold announces itself slowly and with a sore throat, which are then usually replaced by cold and cough. There is no or only slightly elevated temperature. A flu infection can be treated well with prescription drugs from the pharmacy and is usually over after seven to ten days. Influenza , on the other hand, starts very suddenly with fever, chills and severe headaches and body aches. The disease symptoms are pronounced and sufferers should necessarily go to the doctor. Because only up to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms antiviral drugs (prescription) can weaken and shorten the course of the disease. Duration: seven to 14 days. An untreated influenza infection can cause complications such as bronchitis, inflammation of the lungs, sinuses, ears, nervous system and also the heart muscle. There is also a risk of meningitis or – especially in children – a swelling of the vocal cords ("pseudo-Krupp").