Cold and flu occur in the upper respiratory system and are caused by different viruses. Cold is caused by rhinovirus, parainfluenza and other seasonal viruses. However, flu is caused only by influenza viruses. Since flu and cold have common symptoms, it becomes difficult for people to differentiate between the both.
Generally, flu is worse than cold as symptoms of flu are often intense and difficult to handle along with serious complications. The symptoms of cold are milder than flu and usually recover within a few days without any associated serious complication.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website suggests visiting a doctor, in case symptoms persist for more than ten days and are not relieved by over-the-counter medicines.
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