Common Cold, Flu (Influenza) and Stomach flu symptoms chart

The Fall-Winter flu season is approaching. The following chart can help you determine the ailment from its symptoms, whether its a common cold, the flu or ‘stomach flu’.

.Survival Manual/6. Medical/c) General Clinic/Cold and Flu symptom chart)

Symptoms Common Cold Flu (Influenza) ‘Stomach flu’ (gastroenteritis)
Fever Uncommon in adults and older children Usual. Severe, 102°  F, but can go up to 104° F, lasts 3 to 5 days Low grade,  around 100°F
Headache Occasional Sudden onset  and can be severe Occasional
Muscle aches Mild Usual and often  severe Occasional
Tiredness and
Sometimes Often extreme,  and can last 2-3 weeks Yes
Never Usual, from  onset and can be severe Yes
Common, a lot, later becomes thicker and darker (note 1) Sometimes No
Sneezing Usual Sometimes No
Sore throat Usually starts
with sore throat
Sometimes No
Cough Mild hacking cough Usual, and can become severe No
Nausea &
No No (but possibly  with Swine Flu) Yes
Stomach pain/
No No Result from nausea and vomiting
Diarrhea No No (but possibly with Swine Flu) Yes
Acute onset No Yes Yes
Chills &
shaking at beginning of illness
No Yes Yes
1-4 days, usually 2-3 days.
Symptoms period About a week (note  2) About 7 days 4 -48 hours
1st  3 days (stay home) A day before symptoms appear until about a week after onset. From onset, then up to 2 weeks after recovery.


Symptoms Common Cold Flu (influenza) Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)
Prevention Wash your hands often; avoid close contact with anyone with a cold Wash your hands often; avoid close contact with anyone who has flu symptoms; get annual
flu vaccine, which protects against the H1N1 swine flu and two other flu
strains expected for the approaching flu season.
If by virus, it probably cannot be prevented. If by food poisoning,
avoid foods that have been incorrectly prepared or not properly refrigerated.
Bacteria often grow in poultry products, foods made with eggs, or cream products. Do not leave foods like potato salad, chicken salad, cream puffs, or chicken un-refrigerated, especially in warmer weather.
Vectors Cold virus and Influenza are easily spread
through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person during coughing and sneezing, may also be spread when a person touches a surface that has influenza viruses on it – a door handle, for instance – and then touches his or her nose or mouth. A cold virus can live on objects such as pens, books, telephones, computer keyboards, and coffee cups for several hours and can
thus be acquired from contact with these objects.
Stomach flu is highly contagious. Transmission by: Eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated with a stomach flu virus; having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms, sharing food or eating utensils with someone who is ill; touching surfaces or objects contaminated with a virus and then putting your hands in your mouth.
Treatment Decongestants; pain
reliever/fever reducer medicines.
pain relievers, or fever reducers are available over the counter; prescription antiviral drugs for flu may be given in some cases.
Avoid dehydration by drinking
fluids and gradually eating a bland diet such as the BRAT diet (bananas,
rice, applesauce, and dry toast). A bland diet is easily digested and is
unlikely to irritate your sensitive gastrointestinal system. Take pain killers with acetaminophen (Tylenol or Excedrin).

Note 1:  Dark mucus is natural and does not usually mean you have developed a bacterial infection,
such as a sinus infection.
Note 2:  Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If your cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor.

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