What are the symptoms of the flu?

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Dr. Daniel J. Allen, DO
Emergency Medicine Specialist

Daniel Allen, DO, from West Valley Medical Group - Middleton, describes symptoms of the flu as chills, body aches, fever and more. Watch this video to hear more flu symptoms.

Dr. Alan Young, MD
Family Practitioner

Flu (influenza) symptoms typically include a high fever (usually 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher), headaches, muscle aches and chills. Those are usually the early onset symptoms, which are often followed by a cough, sore throat and loss of appetite.

There's always a lot of confusion with the term flu. A lot of people will take that to mean a stomach flu, which causes vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes abdominal pain. That would not be the true symptoms of the flu in the medical profession. When doctors say flu, they mean influenza.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

Dr. Leila A. Koleiny, DO
Family Practitioner

Symptoms of flu usually include:

  • fever over 101 degrees F
  • severe cough
  • sore throat
  • body aches 

See your doctor within 48 hours of your symptoms starting. Your doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medication to ease your symptoms and help them go away sooner.

While influenza and the common cold are both caused by respiratory viruses, flu symptoms are significantly more severe. Although both illnesses can produce runny or stuffy noses and coughs, flu symptoms often also include high fevers (over 102º F), body aches, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea.

For most adults, the influenza virus means a week or so of fever, sore throat, cough, headache and body aches. But for children, the flu can have much more serious consequences, such as ear infections, dehydration, pneumonia or death.

Chances are if you have the flu you feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  •  Cough
  •  Sore throat
  •  Runny or stuffy nose
  •  Muscle or body aches
  •  Headaches
  •  Fatigue or weakness

Some with the flu may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults. Keep in mind, you may still have the flu even if you don't have a fever. You may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.

Influenza ("the flu" for short) is a common respiratory infection caused by a virus. Flu symptoms include:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches and/or headache
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
Dr. Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Practitioner

Symptoms of the flu include:

  • High fever
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion are also common
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are more common in children
  • Severe headaches and muscle aches usually differentiate the flu from other viral illnesses and colds
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Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist

Influenza, better known as the flu, can cause the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • headaches and body aches
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • stuffed-up nose

Vomiting and diarrhea are possible symptoms of the flu, too, though they're more common in children. The symptoms of the flu can come on very quickly.

Symptoms of influenza can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

People may be infected with the flu and have some symptoms without a fever.

The presence of the CDC logo and CDC content on this page should not be construed to imply endorsement by the US Government of any commercial products or services, or to replace the advice of a medical professional. The mark “CDC” is licensed under authority of the PHS.

Symptoms of influenza (flu) can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

People may be infected with the flu, including 2009 H1N1 flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

The symptoms of influenza (flu) include a high fever, often over 103 for children; cough; chills; and muscle aches. People with influenza may also experience fatigue, low appetite, headaches, and nasal symptoms such as a runny nose or congestion. In children, influenza can produce digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Symptoms of the flu include:
  • fever
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • a general unwell feeling called malaise
  • cough
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

The symptoms of the flu for adults include:

  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • chills
  • mild or severe body aches
  • cough
  • fever
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness or confusion
  • severe headache
  • a return and worsening of symptoms after they've improved

For children, additional symptoms may include:

  • fever with rash
  • fast or labored breathing
  • unable to eat
  • no tears when crying
  • not drinking enough fluids
  • not waking up or not interacting
  • excessively irritable or doesn't want to be held
  • bluish skin color
  • significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
  • a return and worsening of symptoms after they've improved

Symptoms of the flu include muscle and joint pain, high fever, a deep cough, chills, fatigue and weakness. These symptoms usually send you straight to bed for three to five days or longer. Afterward, cough and tiredness may persist for days or even weeks. Other symptoms include headache, eye pain and sometimes a stuffy nose and sore throat. Some strains of the flu also produce vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms usually come on suddenly once you've been exposed to the virus.

In this video, Tarak Reddy, MD, from StoneSprings Hospital Center discusses the symptoms of the flu.

In this video, a doctor names the common symptoms of the flu (also known as influenza). Part of an interview series with Brian Hanrahan, MD, from Johnston-Willis Hospital.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.