Quiz: What's the difference between flu and a cold?

By: Alia Hoyt

With so many germs flying about this time of year it can be tricky to figure out what ails you. Take this quiz to test your cold versus flu IQ!
Jelena Danilovic/Thinkstock

Question 1 of 10

Which of the following symptoms is only rarely associated with a cold?
stuffy nose
sore throat
Although fever is a common issue with those suffering from the flu, it's hardly ever present with a cold.


Question 2 of 10

Who really needs to see a doctor if they have the flu?
No one. You'll get better on your own.
Everyone should, just to be safe.
It depends on your age and what other illnesses you may have.
Most healthy people will recover from the flu on their own inside of two weeks. People with weakened immune systems, chronic conditions or who are pregnant, as well as those under 5 and over 65 should see a physician.


Question 3 of 10

Are colds and flu both viral illnesses?
Cold and flu are both viral illnesses, but they are caused by very different viruses.
Flu is viral but colds are caused by bacteria.


Question 4 of 10

When should a person start taking an antiviral medication like Tamiflu?
within 48 hours of symptoms showing up
when someone close is diagnosed with the flu
both of the above
Antivirals won't do anything for a cold, but have been shown to reduce duration of the flu by a day or two. It works best when taken within 48 hours of symptom onset, but can still help even after that window. Anti-virals are often prescribed as a preventive measure if a person has been in close contact with someone who has the flu.


Question 5 of 10

What are the most common side effects of antiviral medications?
nausea and vomiting
Antiviral medications can do a lot of good, but some people experience significant nausea and vomiting when they take them. See your doctor to find out if your antiviral risk outweighs your reward.
headache and fever


Question 6 of 10

How do you treat colds and flu at home?
Drink clear liquids and get lots of rest.
Run a humidifier and take pain relievers to ease discomfort.
both of the above
Treatment for colds versus flu isn't all that different. Hydration is ultra-important with both, especially if vomiting and diarrhea are present. So, drink lots of clear fluids and avoid caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics, thus dehydrating.


Question 7 of 10

When is it safe to go back to work or school after having the flu?
after you've been fever-free for 24 hours (without using a fever reducing medication)
When people contract the flu they usually become contagious 24 to 72 hours later, and remain that way up to five days after onset of symptoms. Never go back to work or school before the 24-hour fever-free window. And that means fever-free without using medication.
after you've been fever-free for 48 hours
better to wait a week of being fever-free


Question 8 of 10

What's the best way to prevent both cold and flu?
get a flu shot
proper hand-washing
Although the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu, it has zero effect on colds. Be sure to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday." In a pinch, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
take allergy medications


Question 9 of 10

How far can a person with the flu spread their germs?
up to 2 feet (61 centimeters)
up to 6 feet (182 centimeters)
The flu spreads when infected people sneeze, cough or talk, spraying droplets far and wide.
up to 10 feet (3 meters)


Question 10 of 10

True or False: Antibiotics can help cure a cold.
Antibiotics work for illnesses caused by bacteria. Colds, as we said earlier, are caused by viruses. So antibiotics are useless against colds.


You scored:
Jelena Danilovic/Thinkstock
'Norse to See You': Take Our Viking Quiz!
'Norse to See You': Take Our Viking Quiz!
Helmets, battles, Leif Erikson Day - our new Viking quiz has it all. Grab some mead and let's get started.
Explore More