If you’re feeling sick, you may be confused about the cause. Many symptoms of the common cold are similar to those of the seasonal flu or H1N1 flu (swine flu), but often the symptoms for the flu are more severe. Use this chart to help tell the difference, and see below for more information about the related conditions pneumonia and gastroenteritis.

How Often Symptoms Occur in a Cold or the Flu

Fever

  • Cold: Rare
  • Flu: High (100-102 degrees), may last 3-4 days

Headache

  • Cold: Rare
  • Flu: Usually

Body aches, pains

  • Cold: Slight
  • Flu: Severe

Fatigue

  • Cold: Mild
  • Flu: Severe, may last 2-3 weeks

Weakness

  • Cold: Not common
  • Flu: Yes

Stuffy Nose

  • Cold: Common
  • Flu: Sometimes

Sneezing

  • Cold: Usual
  • Flu: Sometimes

Sore Throat

  • Cold: Common
  • Flu: Sometimes

Cough

  • Cold: Mild to moderate
  • Flu: Common, can be severe

Chills and sweats

  • Cold: Not common
  • Flu: Sometimes

Vomiting

  • Cold: Not common
  • Flu: Sometimes

Diarrhea

  • Cold: Not common
  • Flu: Sometimes

Complications

  • Cold: Sinus congestion and Earache
  • Flu: Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Can be life threatening

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