Flu Awareness

Difference between Cold and Flu Symptoms

Symptom for

  • Cold (Top)
  • Swine Flu (Bottom)


  • Fever is rare with a cold.
  • Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. A temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu.


  • A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.
  • A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).


  • Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.
  • Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.

Stuffy Nose

  • Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week.
  • Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.


  • Chills are uncommon with a cold.
  • 60% of people who have the flu experience chills.


  • Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.
  • Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.


  • Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.
  • Sneezing is not common with the flu.

Sudden Symptoms

  • Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.
  • The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.


  • A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.
  • A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.

Sore Throat

  • Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.
  • Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.

Chest Discomfort

  • Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.
  • Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.


High Risk Groups

  • Children below 5 years
  • Senior persons above 65 years
  • HIV infected persons
  • Diabetic patients
  • Pregnant Women
  • Lung & Heart patients
  • Obese persons

Warning signs for children

  • Troubled or abnormal breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Lessened intake of water/fluids
  • Extended sleep or lack of interaction
  • Irritable
  • Fever with rash
  • Flu-like symptoms recede, but return with fever and worsened cough

Warning signs for adults

  • Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain/pressure in chest/abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting

For more information on H1N1 influenza information please visit www.american.edu/emergency/H1N1-Flu-Information.cfm


During this pre flu season take the time to become aware of what can be done to help minimize your risk of catching and spreading the flu virus. Protect yourself and others.

  • Stay informed on the latest flu updates from CDC, www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm.
  • Prepare a "Flu Planning Checklist" for at home and away from home
  • Establish and practice good daily preventive measures:
    • Wash your hands often thoroughly in warm soapy water or use hand sanitize, especially after touching common area surfaces –doors, elevator buttons
    • Keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hand
    • Keep common surfaces and items clean and disinfected
    • Stay home if you are sick, unless directed to seek medical care
  • Once available consider vaccination as soon as possible
  • While the overall effectiveness of these measures is not known, it is believed that a combination of them will have some impact on the spread of the disease, especially if implemented early.