Flu Symptoms and Prevention

Sniffles? Cough? Body aches? Learn how to protect yourself and others from the flu.

Colds and flu are highly contagious and, in the initial stages, might seem alike. Check out the following table for a comparison of the symptoms for each illness.

  • Symptom
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Fever
  • Rare in adults, can be up to 102 F in small children
  • Usually 102 F, but can go up to 104 F and last 3-4 days
  • Headache
  • Rare
  • Common, can be severe
  • Muscle aches
  • Mild
  • Common, often severe
  • Tiredness, weakness
  • Mild
  • Can last 2 or more weeks
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Never
  • Common, early in illness
  • Runny nose
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Sneezing
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Sore throat
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Cough
  • Mild hacking cough
  • Common, can be severe
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rare
  • Rare

Flu Prevention: Tips to help keep you healthy during flu season

Here are some steps you can take to help stop the spread of germs and protect yourself and others.

  1. Get vaccinated
    • The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu virus
  2. Stay healthy
    • Get plenty of sleep
    • Eat a well-balanced diet
    • Exercise
    • Manage stress
  3. Protect yourself and others
    • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
    • If possible, stay home from work, school and other activities when you are sick
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing/sneezing
    • Avoid touching your eyes and nose after being exposed to something contaminated
    • Wash your hands often to help protect yourself from germs
  4. Use proper hand washing techniques
    • Wet your hands with warm, running water
    • Add soap and rub hands thoroughly for no less than 15-20 seconds
    • Rinse well under running water
    • Dry thoroughly with a clean disposable towel
    • Use same towel to turn faucet off
    • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based gel
  5. Understand your symptoms
    • Use the symptom chart on this page to help determine whether you have a cold or the flu

Need relief from the flu?

If you do catch the flu, try to get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids and avoid using alcohol and tobacco. Also, be sure to talk with your health care provider or an Aurora pharmacist about medication and flu-relief products* to relieve fever, cough, or body aches–and help you feel better while you recover.

*Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, particularly fever.