With so many people affected by the common cold and the flu, it may seem impossible to avoid catching one, or both. But you can greatly reduce your chances. Arm yourself with the following information about the common cold and the flu—and don't be the next victim.

The symptoms for a cold and the flu are somewhat similar. This easy-to-read chart can help you determine which infection you may have.

Symptom Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usual, high (100ºF-102°F [37.8ºC-38.8°C]) last 3-4 days
Headache Rare Common
General aches, pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Usual, can last up to 2-3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Mild to moderate, hacking cough Common; can become severe

Source: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases