Signs and Symptoms of the Flu

Many people get the flu and a common cold mixed up, but in actual fact they are both different ailments. They are both respiratory ailments, but they are caused by different types of viruses.

If you have a common cold, then even though you may feel quite ill, your symptoms (unless they increase into something worse) are usually relatively minor. However flu symptoms can make you feel really ill, especially if you go on to develop complications.

Cold symptoms will produce a runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing and quite often a cough. The symptoms also tend to come on over a couple of days.

The flu however will affect the whole body and will strike quickly. You’ll have a fever (raised temperature), body aches and pains, a very dry cough and feelings of extreme tiredness.

The effects of the flu can be very debilitating. Most people recover from a cold within 3-4 days, however the effects of the flu can last much longer (often up to several weeks before the sufferer returns to feeling normal)

So how can you tell if you have the flu? How do you tell the difference from the symptoms you have?

Use our graph to decide whether you have the flu or a cold


Your Symptoms

Common Cold

Flu

Fever/High Temperature

Infrequent

Usually present

Aches and pains

Maybe

Usually present and can be severe

Presenting Symptoms

Appears over time (few days)

Sudden (Sometimes within hours)

Chills

Not usually

Yes often

Tiredness

Maybe (though mild)

Moderate though can be severe

Runny Nose

Present

Not present usually

Coughing

Not usually

Dry cough

Sneezing

Usually present

Not common

Bad chest

Sometimes

Yes and can be severe

Headache

Mild

Can be relentless

Sore throat

Usually

Not always

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