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Colds and flu are both illnesses caused by viruses. Through laboratory research, scientists have found that there are three different viruses that can cause flu, but over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold - sometimes referred to as a "common cold". Colds and flu can affect all ages, from babies to the elderly.

How to tell the difference between cold and flu

It can sometimes be very difficult to tell which is which. This is because, although their symptoms do have some differences, there are a lot of similarities too. So let's take a look at them:

Cold symptomsFlu symptoms
Runny nose - with clear mucus at first then thicker, greener mucus as the cold progressesFever - that may come on suddenly - body temperature can go up to 37.8-40°C (100-104°F)
Blocked noseSweating
CoughCough - a dry, chesty cough
SneezingExtreme tiredness or exhaustion. Sufferers may feel the need to lie down and rest
Sore throatRunny nose, sneezing
Fever, tiredness, muscles achesA headache
A headacheLoss of appetite, nausea and vomiting

One other key difference is the impact of seasonality. While Flu tends to be seasonal - during the winter months, Colds can be experienced throughout the year. The reason for this is that flu viruses need different conditions to survive and multiply compared with cold viruses. Also, Flu viruses seem to survive longer in dry, cold, winter air.

Why is it important to know whether it is a cold or the flu?

Since you may not get all the symptoms at the same time, and also because you can suffer the symptoms to different degrees, telling the colds and flu apart can become even more challenging. For example, colds may be called "mild" or "heavy" colds and a heavy cold may feel more like flu. In children and the elderly it is important to recognise the flu as these people are at more at risk of complications compared to the rest of the population.

How to treat colds and flu in adults?

Painkillers such ibuprofen can help to relieve aches and pains, however, Nurofen Cold & Flu* contains not just ibuprofen, but a decongestant too, called pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. Powerful and long lasting, it works to alleviate your symptoms for up to 8 hours** to help you get on with your day.

Aside from treating your symptoms with medication, there are other things you can do to help speed up your recovery, such as staying rested, keeping warm, and staying hydrated.**Refers to Ibuprofen.

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Nurofen Cold & Flu

There’s nothing stronger for your cold and flu pain and congestion.

Nurofen Cold and Flu provides fast effective temporary relief from the major symptoms associated with cold, flu and congestion without causing drowsiness.

Dosage Guidelines:
  • Adults and children from 12 years: Take 2 tablets with water every 8 hours. Leave at least 4 hours between doses. Do not take more than 6 tablets in any 24 hours.
  • Do not give Nurofen Sinus & Blocked Nose to children under 12 years.
  • For detailed dosing instructions please refer to the product leaflet.

* For adults and children over 12 years. Product may not be suitable for some people, see pack leaflet or ask your doctor or pharmacist for details.  
Nurofen Cold & Flu. Always read the label. UK/N/1115/0088a

Patient ( takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided by the sponsor