Cold vs. Influenza
Cold vs. Influenza
Peg Butler, School Nurse
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Know the Difference between Cold and Influenza Symptoms

Symptom

Cold

Influenza

Fever

Fever is rare with a cold. 

Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100�F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu. 

Coughing

A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold. 

A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough). 

Aches

Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold. 

Severe aches and pains are common with the flu. 

Stuffy Nose

Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week. 

Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu. 

Chills

Chills are uncommon with a cold. 

60% of people who have the flu experience chills. 

Tiredness

Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold. 

Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu. 

Sneezing

Sneezing is commonly present with a cold. 

Sneezing is not common with the flu. 

Sudden Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.. 

The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains. 

Headache

A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold. 

A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases. 

Sore Throat

Sore throat is commonly present with a cold. 

Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu. 

Chest Discomfort

Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold. 

Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu. 

 

WASH your hands, keep your environment clean (doorknobs, counters, desks, shared surfaces), and avoid contact with those who are sick.  If YOU have influenza symptoms, contact your health care provider and STAY HOME.