By Kristina Duda, R.N., About.com Guide
Updated November 16, 2009
The symptoms of the common cold, seasonal flu and H1N1 swine flu can all be very similar and make may it difficult to know which one you have. We have broken down the most common symptoms of these three viruses so you can easily see the differences and similarities between them.
You should also be aware that if you have any of these viruses – the common cold, seasonal flu or H1N1 swine flu – for several days, you get better for a day or two and then suddenly get very sick again, you should see your health care provider because this could be a sign that you have developed complications or a secondary infection.
“Questions and Answers: H1N1 Flu (“Swine Flu”) and You.” H1N1 Flu 03 Nov 09. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 04 Nov 09.
“Flu Symptoms and Severity.” Seasonal Influenza (Flu) 08 Sep 09. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 04 Nov 09.
|Symptom||Common Cold||Seasonal Flu||H1N1 Swine Flu|
|Runny/Stuffy Nose||Very common||Occasional||Occasional|
|Cough||Moist and productive||Dry cough (may also be productive)||Dry cough (may also be productive) A change from a dry cough to a more productive one could be a sign of a secondary infection.|
|Fever||Uncommon but may occur occasionally in children||Very common||Common, but less so than with seasonal flu|
|Exhaustion/Fatigue||Mild tiredness may occur||Very common||Very common|
|Headache||Common – usually due to sinus pressure||Common||Common|
|Sore Throat||Common, but typically mild||Uncommon||Very common|
|Vomiting/Diarrhea||These are not symptoms of the common cold||Uncommon, but may occur occasionally in children||About 10% of people with H1N1 swine flu experience vomiting and diarrhea|
|Onset of Symptoms||Gradual||Sudden||Sudden|