Common Flu Symptoms
- Fever above 100 F
- Severe aches in your muscles and joints
- Weakness or severe fatigue
- Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
- A headache
- A dry cough
- A sore throat and runny nose
Get medical help right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in your chest or belly
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe vomiting
These symptoms can mean your illness is severe.
Flu Symptoms vs. Cold Symptoms
The symptoms of colds and flu can be a lot alike. Here’s how to tell which one is making you sick:
- Fever. It can last 3 or 4 days with the flu; it’s rare with a cold.
- Aches. They might be severe with the flu; they’re mild with a cold.
- Chills. You’re likely to have them with the flu, but they’re rare with a cold.
- Fatigue. This is common with the flu and happens sometimes with a cold.
- Sneezing. You’re more likely to have this with a cold than with the flu.
- Cough and chest discomfort. This is common with both but tends to be severe with the flu.
- Stuffy nose. This sometimes happens with the flu but is common with a cold.
- Sore throat. This can be common with the flu but is more likely with a cold.
- Headache. This is common when you have the flu but rare with a cold.
How to Treat Flu Symptoms
In most cases, the best things to do when you have the flu are:
- Rest at home.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid contact with other people.
- Are very sick or have other medical conditions
- Are younger than 2 or older than 65
- Have a weak immune system
- Are pregnant
- Are a Native American or an Alaska Native
These medicines -- baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza), oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), and zanamivir (Relenza) -- work best when you take them 48 hours or less after your symptoms start. If you take them during this window, they can cut your illness short by a day. They can also help after 48 hours if your illness is severe.
People who are otherwise healthy don’t usually have serious problems from the flu.
Flu complications include:
- Sinus infection (sinusitis)
- Ear infection
- Inflamed bronchial tubes in your lungs (bronchitis)
- Asthma flare-ups
- Heart inflammation (myocarditis)
- Brain inflammation (encephalitis)
- Muscle problems
- Chronic heart disease flare-ups
- Organ failure
When Is Flu Season?
Seasonal flu follows a pattern, starting in the fall and ending in the spring. The first sign is often a sudden rise in the number of school-age children sick at home. This is soon followed by more illness in other groups, including parents.