How can you tell if you have a cold or the flu? Explore this infographic to compare their symptoms and debunk the most common myths.
Symptoms of a cold can include:
- sore throat
- fever (a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher)
- blocked or runny nose
If you have green or yellow mucous coming out of your nose then it's a sign your immune system is fighting the infection. It doesn't mean your cold is getting worse or that you have a bacterial infection. But if your symptoms don't improve after 10 days, or they get worse, then see your doctor.
Symptoms for influenza (flu) can include:
- sudden fever with a temperature of 38.5 degrees Celsius or above
- dry, chesty cough
- aching muscles
- limb or joint pain
- diarrhoea or upset stomach
- sore throat
- runny or blocked nose
- loss of appetite.
See your doctor if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and:
- symptoms lasting longer than 10 days
- a cough lasting longer than 3 weeks
- can’t or won’t drink fluids
- vomit frequently
- complain of intense headache
- are pale and sleepy
- have chest pain
- experience breathing difficulties
- develop a rash with fever
- you are worried.
See your doctor if your child has cold and flu symptoms and has a chronic medical condition. Warning signs of severe illness including poor feeding, dehydration and difficulty breathing.
See fever in children and symptoms of serious illness in babies and children for more information.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your cold or flu, why not use healthdirect's online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it's self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: September 2016