Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Influenza Symptoms

Influenza usually starts with symptoms that are similar to a cold, but quickly becomes worse with high fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, and headache.

The most common symptoms of influenza include:

Additional symptoms of influenza may include:

Influenza Cold Versus Flu

The following chart describes differences between influenza symptoms and cold symptoms.

Feverrarevery common, > 102 F
Headachemildcommon, often severe
Body achesmild if presentvery common, severe
Weakness, fatiguemild if presentvery common
Extreme exhaustionvery rarecommon early symptom
Sore throatvery commoncommon early symptom
Nasal congestionvery commoncommon
Sneezingvery commonsometimes
Coughmild hacking coughcommon, may be severe
Chest congestionmild, gradual onsetcommon, may be severe
Pleurisymild, gradual onsetcommon, may be severe
Nausea, vomitingraresometimes
Complicationssinusitis, otitis mediapneumonia, dehydration

Continue to Influenza Evaluation

Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Influenza References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  2. Ebell MH, White LL, Casault T. A systematic review of the history and physical examination to diagnose influenza. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004 Jan-Feb;17(1):1-5. [15014046]
  3., HHS Interagency Public Affairs Group on Influenza Preparedness and Response
  4. Jefferson T, Smith S, Demicheli V, Harnden A, Rivetti A, Di Pietrantonj C. Assessment of the efficacy and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in healthy children: systematic review. Lancet. 2005 Feb 26-Mar 4;365(9461):773-80. [15733718]
  5. Montalto NJ. An office-based approach to influenza: clinical diagnosis and laboratory testing. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jan 1;67(1):111-8. [12537174]
  6. Strategy for Off-Site Rapid Triage(c) (SORT) and Real-time Epidemiological Assessment for Community Health(c) (REACH), Emory University, Principal Investigators: Alexander Isakov, MD, MPH; Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, Collaboration with the Emory at Grady Health Literacy Team (Ruth Parker, MD; Kara Jacobson, MPH, CHES; Lorenzo DiFrancesco, MD)
  7. VHA Office of Public Health Surveillance and Research; Influenza Algorithm Work Group
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