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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 come on more quickly 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 some weeks.

Flu and cold symptoms chart

Cold and flu viruses can affect people in different ways – but here's a general guide to classic symptoms for each.

Symptoms

Cold

Flu

 Fever

 Rare

Yes - 38C or higher

 Headache

 Uncommon

 Yes

 General
 aches & 
 pains

 Sometimes

 Common

  Fatigue
  weakness

 Sometimes

 Yes

 Loss of 
 appetite

 Sometimes

 Common

 Stuffy or 
 blocked
 nose 

 Common

 Sometimes

 Sneezing

 Common

 Sometimes

  Sore throat

 Common

 Sometimes

 Dry chesty 
 cough

 Sometimes

 Common

Complications

Sinus problems, 
earache

Bronchitis, pneumonia,
serious complications
for some people

Prevention

 Good hygiene,
 washing hands,
 cleaning surfaces,
 binning tissues

Good hygiene, washing
 hands, cleaning surfaces,
 binning tissues.
 Annual flu jab

Treatment

 Over the counter
 cough and cold
 products and/or
 painkillers

 Over the counter flu
 products and/or painkillers.
 Antiviral drugs for some
 people at risk of
 complications who have 
 not had the flu jab

 

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 08, 2016

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