The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and lungs. Though the flu and a cold share many symptoms, they cannot be treated alike. A cold is caused by a different virus and has milder symptoms, while the flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death.
Common signs and symptoms of the flu virus include:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Some people may experience diarrhea and vomiting, though this is more common in children than in adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu has a fever.