The common cold rarely produces a fever or headache. It can cause general body aches and mild fatigue. A stuffy nose and sneezing are common along with a sore throat and mild cough. The common cold can lead to sinus congestion or infection or an earache. While a cold generally resolves quickly symptoms cans last for up to two weeks.
However, influenza symptoms are usually more severe and develop quickly. Influenza can cause a fever up to 105 degrees which can last 3-4 days. An intense headache and general aches and pains are common and sometimes severe. Fatigue can last up to 2-3 weeks. Sneezing and a congested nose are generally uncommon, however a cough can be significant. The influenza virus can lead to bronchitis or pneumonia. A severe case can even lead to hospital admission.
Some emergency warning signs to be aware of in children you might suspect with influenza include fast or troubled breathing, inconsolable irritability, fever with a rash, or flu like symptoms that improve but return with a worsening fever or cough. In adults with influenza if difficulty breathing, pain in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness or confusion are noted go immediately to the emergency room.
There are ways to be proactive to protect yourself from either the common cold or the flu. WASH YOUR HANDS!!! Try to avoid people you know are sick. Everyone six months and older should get the influenza vaccine. If you have any concerns about your symptoms always be seen by a medical provider.