What is cold? What is flu?

Colds and flu are both illnesses caused by viruses. Through laboratory research, scientists have found 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

Without the help of scientific laboratory tests, 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 Symptoms Flu Symptoms

Runny nose – with clear mucus at first then thicker, green mucus as the cold progresses.

Fever - that may come on suddenly - body temperature of 38C or above

Blocked Nose

Difficulty sleeping


Cough - a dry, chesty cough


Extreme tiredness or exhaustion. Sufferers may feel the need to lie down and rest

Sore Throat

Nausea and being sick

Fever, muscle aches





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 the 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 and children over 12?

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. In fact, there’s nothing stronger for your cold and flu pain and congestion than Nurofen Cold & Flu. 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.

Nurofen Cold & Flu*

This product is for adults and children age +12. Nurofen Cold & Flu provides effective relief from major symptoms associated with a cold, flu and congestion (e.g. aches and pains, fever and sore throat). In fact, there’s nothing stronger or that lasts longer for your cold and flu pain and congestion than Nurofen Cold & Flu.

How does Nurofen Cold & Flu* work?

As we have seen already, Nurofen Cold & Flu contains two ingredients, ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine.

Ibuprofen – to help relieve pain and fever and has anti-inflammatory properties

Ibuprofen works by blocking the production of some chemicals in the body called prostaglandins - their action can lead to pain and headaches. But prostaglandins are also believed to be a source of fever and possibly make tissues inflamed and swollen. They are one of the reasons why your throat may swell up when you are sick and your nose gets blocked when you have a cold or flu.

Pseudoephedrine - to help relieve associated congestion

None of the symptoms of a cold or flu are pleasant. Feeling bunged up is annoying and inconvenient and can affect your breathing. So, this is where the pseudoephedrine ingredient in Nurofen Cold & Flu may help you. That is because pseudoephedrine is a decongestant and it helps to relieve cold or flu associated nasal and sinus congestion (blocked nose), which in turn helps to make your breathing easier.

If you are in any doubt about the way you are feeling, you should seek professional, medical help. However, for a cold or flu, consider visiting your local pharmacy for Nurofen Cold & Flu. It provides powerful, effective relief from major symptoms associated with colds, flu and congestion; fever, congestion, sore throat and aches & pains.

* 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. Always read the label.
** Refers to 400mg dose of ibuprofen. For pain relief.
All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe.
NUROFEN COLD & FLU. Always read the label.