How to tell cold, flu symptoms apart is difficult

January 22, 2013

By Staff

How to tell the flu from a cold is difficult, because the illnesses share many symptoms, including fatigue, fever, headache, muscle aches and runny nose.

Cold

Cold symptoms tend to develop gradually and include:

  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Mild fever of less than 102 degrees

Flu

Flu symptoms can appear suddenly and include:

  • Nausea
  • Cough without phlegm
  • Chills and body aches
  • Sweating
  • Fever of more than 102 degrees (not everybody with the flu develops a fever)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting (more common in children)
  • Diarrhea (more common in children)

Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, everydayHealth, University of Arizona

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