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Flu symptoms or a cold?

Is it a cold or flu? Although both conditions share similar symptoms, they are caused by different viruses, and flu tends to last longer and the symptoms are more severe.

Flu can cause muscle aches, chills and sweats as a fever comes and goes. You may also have a stuffy or runny nose, headache and sore throat. Flu can also make a person feel weak and fatigued for up to two or three weeks.

Can I compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms?

Yes. The following chart can help you compare flu symptoms with cold symptoms. Use it to learn the differences and similarities between flu and cold symptoms. Then, if you get flu symptoms, you can seek medical advice to see if an antiviral medicine is appropriate for you.

Symptoms

Cold

Flu

Fever

Rare

Characteristic, high
(higher than 38C); lasts 3-4 days

Headache

Uncommon

Prominent

General aches, pains

Slight

Usual; often severe

Fatigue, weakness

Quite mild

Can last up to 2-3 weeks

Extreme exhaustion

Rare

Early and prominent

Stuffy nose

Common

Sometimes

Sneezing

Usual

Sometimes

Sore throat

Common

Sometimes

Chest discomfort,
cough

Mild to moderate;
hacking cough

Common; can become severe

Complications

Sinus congestion
or earache

Bronchitis, pneumonia;
can be life threatening

Prevention

Good hygiene

Good hygiene, annual flu jab

Treatment

Over the counter symptomatic relief

Over the counter symptomatic relief. Antiviral drugs within 24-48 hours
of onset may be advised

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 04, 2014

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