The common cold is a viral infection that requires symptomatic treatment. It is usually self-limiting. Influenza is often referred to as the flu. There are several differences between the common cold and the flu, including the onset of the condition as influenza is typically more acute in onset and more debilitating. Treatment of both these conditions requires a symptomatic approach that should be evidence-based, including herbal remedies, over-the-counter medicines, antiviral agents and analgesics for pain and fever.