Symptoms of the flu come on suddenly and may include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhoea although this is more common in children.
For most people, symptoms of the flu last for around 1 or 2 weeks, but in some cases can last for up to 1 month.
What are the symptoms of the common cold?
The symptoms of the common cold are less severe than the flu, and can include:
- A runny or blocked nose
- A sore throat
- A cough
If you’re suffering from a cold, you may also have a mild fever — this is why many people confuse a cold with flu.
Flu symptoms normally develop very quickly, but the symptoms of a cold usually take one or two days to develop.
What is the difference between a cold and flu?
Sometimes, people have trouble working out whether they have a cold or the flu, because the common cold and flu share some similar symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, and a sore throat.
However, the two illnesses are not the same. Not only are they caused by different viruses, but the flu generally causes much more severe symptoms. Cold symptoms generally occur gradually and rarely cause fevers or headaches.
What is the difference between COVID-19 and flu?
Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and getting tested may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis.
Flu and COVID-19 share many symptoms, but there are some key differences between the two.
- Body aches, headaches, and chills are common flu symptoms but are rarer in COVID-19 cases.
- Shortness of breath and respiratory issues are common COVID-19 symptoms that are rare in flu.
- flu symptoms usually appear suddenly whereas COVID-19 symptoms are more likely to develop over a longer period
- Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include a change in or loss of taste or smell.
It is important that if you are unsure whether you are suffering from a cold, flu, or COVID you get tested or call NHS 111 for further information.