These general guidelines can help determine if you have the common cold or the flu.
100 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit; lasts three to four days
yes; often intense
general aches, pains
usual; often severe
yes; often early on
runny or stuffy nose
chest discomfort, cough
mild to moderate; hacking cough
common; can become severe
diarrhea and vomiting
sometimes (more common for children than adults)
sinus congestion or earache
bronchitis or pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Use good respiratory and hand hygiene to stop the spread of germs.
Get a seasonal flu vaccine each year, and use good respiratory and hand hygiene.
Consider over-the-counter medicine for temporary relief of symptoms.
Ask your doctor about antiviral medicines if you are pregnant or if you have a chronic (long-lasting) illness.
Serious respiratory illness like influenza (the flu) , respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough (pertussis), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by:
To help stop the spread of germs:
If you are coughing or sneezing, cleansing your hands is the easiest way to reduce the risk of spreading germs that cause infections.
Washing your hands is the easiest way to reduce the risk of spreading germs that cause infections.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Do You Have a Cold or the Flu?, ic-ahc-14554
Allina Health's Patient Education Department
Annual influenza vaccinations are available at most
Allina Health clinics.
Get your flu shot by calling the clinic or scheduling online with
While you are visiting a health care facility:
If you are coughing or sneezing,you may be asked to put on a surgical mask to protect others.