Fever: Fever is rare with a cold, but is usually present in up to 80 percent of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for three to four days is associated with the flu.
Coughing: A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).
Aches: Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.
Stuffy nose: Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.
Chills: Chills are uncommon with a cold. Sixty percent of people who have the flu have chills.
Tiredness: Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold, but is moderate to severe with the flu.
Sneezing: Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. Sneezing is not common with the flu.
Sudden symptoms: Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days. The flu has a rapid onset within three to six hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches, and pains.
Headache: A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80 percent of flu cases.
Sore throat: Sore throat is commonly present with a cold, but not with the flu.
Chest discomfort: Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold, but often severe with the flu.