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Colds and flu symptoms

2-minute read

Infographic

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:

Symptoms for influenza (flu) can include:

See your doctor if you have cold or flu-like symptoms and:

  • can’t or won’t drink fluids
  • vomit frequently and/or not being able to drink fluids
  • complain of intense headache
  • are pale and sleepy
  • have chest pain
  • experience breathing difficulties
  • develop a rash with fever
  • neck stiffness
  • light hurting the eyes
  • you are worried

If your symptoms don't improve after 10 days, or they get worse, then see your doctor.

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: May 2018

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

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Influenza is a viral illness, often mild in children. Flu symptoms include runny nose, sore throat and muscle aches. You can usually treat symptoms at home.

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Colds: commonsense not antibiotics - myDr.com.au

If you have a cold, commonsense self-care measures and over-the-counter medicines can help to relieve symptoms. Antibiotics are not helpful in treating the common cold, which is caused by a virus.

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Flu (influenza) - Better Health Channel

Influenza (the flu) is caused by a virus. The flu is more than just a bad cold and can occasionally lead to serious complications, including death. Specific antiviral medication is available. It is only useful if given early after onset of symptoms and may shorten duration of the illness and reduce symptoms. Vulnerable people are more likely to develop serious complications including pneumonia. Immunisation can offer protection from flu.

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