Do you have a stuffy nose? Is your throat scratchy? Feel a pounding sensation in your head? Then, you might have the flu… or is it just a cold? Symptoms of the flu and cold are very similar which can make it confusing to know how sick you really are.

For a cold, symptoms are usually:

  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • cough
  • headache or body aches
  • mild tiredness

Colds develop progressively over a few days. People tend to get better within 7-10 days, but symptoms can last up to 2 weeks.

Flu symptoms typically are:

  • dry, hacking cough
  • moderate to high fever, although not everyone with the flu will run a fever
  • sore throat
  • shaking chills
  • severe muscle or body aches
  • headache
  • stuffy and runny nose
  • severe fatigue that may last up to two weeks
  • nausea and vomiting (most common in children)

Unlike the cold, flu symptoms happen immediately and can last 1-2 weeks.

If you suspect yourself of having the flu, visit your doctor within 48 hours of feeling these symptoms.

Goldman, Rena, and Stephanie Watson. “Cold or Flu? How to Know Which One You Have.”Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Apr. 2017,