Symptoms of a cold come on gradually. Flu Symptoms appear quickly with body aches and pains being so severe that many people are bedridden. During a cold, body aches and pains tend to be mild and although you may feel tired, a person can still do their daily activities. A cold may cause some chills and having a fever is rare, compared with the flu where a fever is expected. A dry cough can be more severe with the flu than a cold. A sore throat, runny and stuffy nose can happen with either but sneezing is seen more with a cold.
If you experience the sudden onset of flu symptoms, there is an antiviral that can be prescribed. It needs to be started within the first 24-48 hours of symptoms to have the most benefit. Don't delay if you have these symptoms. Complications of the flu can include pneumonia, worsening of existing conditions such as asthma or COPD, having to be hospitalized and even death. In Canada, an average of 12,000 people are hospitalized and 3,500 people die each year from the flu.
The best prevention is having your flu shot and washing your hands regularly. For more information visit canada.ca/flu