How is the flu different from a cold?
Colds and flu share some similar symptoms but flu can be much more serious and result in more complications that could result in death. In the United States, 36,000 Americans on average die each winter from the seasonal flu. It is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.

Know the Symptoms – Influenza (Flu) vs. Cold?

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Rare Usually high;
100-102 degrees F
Headache Rare Common
General aches, pains Slight Usual
Sudden onset Rare Usual
Extreme exhaustion Never Usual, at the beginning
Stuffy nose Common Common
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Common Common
Cough Mild to moderate;
hacking cough
Common, can be severe


Over the counter medication for symptom relief (consult healthcare provider for specific treatment for children) Contact your healthcare provider for guidance. If prescribed by your physician, treatment works best when started the first two days of illness. Drink plenty of fluids.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, September 2005