Cold or Flu Virus? What to Look For

Difference between Cold and Swine Flu Symptoms



Swine Flu


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.


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).


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 are uncommon with a cold.

60% of people who have the flu experience chills.


Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.

Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.


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.


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.


High Risk Groups

  •         Children below 5 years 
  •         Senior persons above 65 years
  •         HIV infected persons
  •         Diabetic patients
  •         Pregnant Women
  •         Lung & Heart patients
  •         Obese persons

Warning signs for children

  •          Troubled or abnormal breathing
  •          Bluish skin color
  •          Lessened intake of water/fluids
  •          Extended sleep or lack of interaction
  •          Irritability
  •          Fever with rash
  •          Flu-like symptoms recede, but return with fever and worsened cough

Warning signs for adults

  •         Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
  •         Pain/pressure in chest/abdomen
  •         Sudden dizziness
  •         Confusion
  •         Severe or persistent vomiting/diarrhea

        No vaccine is available for Swine Flu yet, but will be soon.
  Seasonal flu vaccines or past immunizations DO NOT provide protection against the H1N1 virus.

                Please visit a qualified physician if you suspect Swine Flu symptoms, a test is available.

  Persons infected with the H1N1 virus may be able to pass it on 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 7 days after infection...if you suspect your child may have something other than a cold, PLEASE keep your child at home and see a doctor to help prevent the spread of germs to others!

New Information is passed on frequently in the news and at official sites.

Health and Human Services has a site for information