The flu and cold are respiratory infections. Because they have similar symptoms, they’re often confused. However, a cold is more prevalent and banal than the flu.

Symptoms

Symptoms and their severity may vary with age and health status.

Comparison of flu and cold symptoms
SymptomsFluCold

Fever

  • Common
  • Temperatures between 38 °C and 40 °C (between 100,4 °F and 104 °F)
  • Sudden onset
  • Rare

Cough

  • Common
  • Sudden onset
  • Common
  • Mild or moderate

Headache

  • Common
  • Sometimes intense
  • Rare

Aches and pains

  • Common
  • Sometimes intense
  • Rare
  • Mild

Fatigue

  • Common
  • Intense
  • Duration: A few days, sometimes longer
  • Common
  • Mild

Nausea and vomiting

  • Common in children
  • Rare in adults
  • Often accompanied by diarrhea and abdominal pain in children
  • Rare
  • Mild

Runny nose or nasal congestion

  • Rare
  • Common

Sneezing

  • Rare
  • Common

Sore throat

  • Common
  • Common

If You Have Symptoms

You may contact a nurse with questions anytime at Info-Santé 811.

In case of flu

Should you have symptoms of the flu, see the information on flu for helpful advice on how to treat yourself.