Is it a Cold or the Flu?

The cold and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different types of viruses. Flu symptoms usually come on quickly (within three to six hours) and consist of a fever, body aches, dry cough and extreme tiredness. Cold symptoms are less severe and typically produce a stuffy nose, productive cough, slight tiredness and limited body aches

Use the quick reference below to determine if what you have is just a cold or if it’s the flu. Remember that if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is better to act fast and speak to your doctor within 12 to 48 hours.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usually present
Aches Slight Usual, often severe
Chills Uncommon Fairly common
Tiredness Mild Moderate to severe
Sudden symptoms Symptoms appear gradually Symptoms can appear within 3-6 hours
Coughing Hacking, productive cough Dry, unproductive cough
Sneezing Common Uncommon
Stuffy nose Common Uncommon
Sore throat Common Uncommon
Chest discomfort Mild to moderate Often severe
Headache Uncommon Common

Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for a professional diagnosis. Call the health center to discuss your symptoms and a plan of care. 

Adapted from by Roche Laboratories Inc.