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What is the Difference between Cold and Flu?

What is the difference between a cold and flu

When people talk about colds and flu (influenza), they very often refer to the two conditions collectively, as if they are interchangeable. Whilst the two conditions share some common symptoms, there are some distinct differences between them. The common cold and the flu may both be viruses, but they are entirely different types of virus, which is why the effects of the latter can be so much more severe.

Here we look at the inherent differences between colds and flu and why they should be treated as completely different illnesses.

The Common Cold

Known most frequently as “a cold”, the common cold is an infectious viral disease that affects the body’s upper respiratory tract. The areas affected typically include the nose, throat, sinus and the symptoms usually present themselves after around 2 after being exposed to the virus. Also known as a “head cold” due to the main location of the problem, someone who has one will usually experience sneezing, headaches, a sore throat, a profuse runny nose, coughing and mild fever.

Recovery time from a cold can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the immune system of the sufferer. Those with a weak immune system can experience related problems, such as bronchitis and in severe cases, pneumonia.

There are literally hundreds of strains of the common cold, which is why there is no known cure and although a cold can make you feel pretty lousy, most people can still function when they have one.

Influenza or “The Flu”

When you have a dose of the flu, you tend to know about it, as the symptoms are often so much more pronounced than with a cold. There are only three strains of influenza, which is what has allowed the widely publicised flu vaccine or “flu jab” to be created. This vaccine won’t protect you at all from a cold, but it does provide protection against contracting one of the virulent flu strains that can cause so many issues. 

The flu is a much more debilitating condition that can leave even the fittest amongst us in bed for several days. Rather than feeling under the weather, a flu sufferer can experience high fever (in excess of 100°F), periods of dizziness and confusion, as well as tiredness, aching muscles and shivering, despite being hot to the touch.

The severity of the flu makes it particularly dangerous to those with weak immune systems, such as the elderly, pregnant women and those with diabetes, asthma and heart disease. Instead of being a condition that can ruin your week, it can be something that literally threatens your life. Spotting the difference between a bad cold and influenza can be a real life-saver.


Whilst it’s recommended to pay a visit to your GP when your cold and flu symptoms also include chest pain, severe headaches or abdominal pain, the usual course of action is rest and lots of it. Staying wrapped up, warm and drinking plenty of fluids is the key to allowing your body to recover from both the cold and flu viruses.

In terms of medicines, regular paracetamol, decongestant and cough syrup should alleviate some of the symptoms and make you more comfortable. Neither colds nor flu are very pleasant and most often it’s just a case of sitting them out.

Black Seed Oil - The Natural Alternative

In addition to following all of the traditional ways of fighting off colds and flu that we’re all aware of, there is another, more natural way that has largely been forgotten, despite being used to support health across the world for centuries. That natural alternative is Black Seed Oil, which is easy to take and extremely effective at keeping the body healthy.

The reason for this is that the regular consumption of 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Black Seed Oil results in the body creating more natural killer cells (a.k.a white blood cells). These are the cells that seek out foreign bodies, such as viruses and kills them at source, so that you don’t get ill in the first place. Prevention is always a better option than dealing with the unpleasant symptoms after the event and this can be achieved by taking Black Soil daily in one of the following forms;

Raw Virgin Ethiopian Black Seed Oil, typically in tincture form

Black Seed Oil soft gel capsules - a convenient option for those with busy lives

Black Seed Oil & Cod Liver Oil Capsules - which also helps with arthritis and improves cognitive function

Black Seed Oil & Glucosamine - as ideal for joint health

Created from the raw black cumin seeds from the Nigella Sativa plant, Black Seed Oil provides the kind of all-round protection that the modern diet often fails to provide. In a world that’s dominated by processed food, a naturally created product like Black Seed Oil also acts as a powerful antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities to keep your body’s functions working at their best.

When You’ve Already Got a Cold or Flu

Black Seed Oil is also useful as a treatment for colds and flu, as the improved immune system that it creates, helps your body to fight off the illnesses that much quicker. Black Seed Oil and Manuka Honey is also a fantastic way to alleviate symptoms like a sore throat, as when mixed together in tea, it has a really soothing effect that can really help you to feel better.

In Summary

Colds and flu are a basic fact of life, in that unless there is a sudden breakthrough in science, they’re always going to be around - especially during the Winter. The key to avoiding the worst of it is about keeping your immune system strong and knowing how to spot the signs that your cold is actually flu and acting accordingly.

Being aware of the symptoms of both colds and flu is important, especially if you experience some of the more severe ones and you need to visit the GP. However, it does sometimes pay to think out of the box when trying to maintain health, as there are some amazing natural alternatives around like those we mentioned to help your efforts. 

Whatever you get up to this Winter, stay warm, stay protected and above all, stay healthy. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time.

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