Flu facts

Flu symptoms tend to begin quite suddenly. The most common flu symptoms are:

  • fever (usually lasts 1 to 2 days, although it may last as long as 5 days, and may return later)
  • muscle and body aches or stiffness (tend to appear early and then start to fade within 2 to 4 days)
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • dry cough (may last for weeks after a bout of the flu)
  • extreme tiredness (may continue for weeks after the flu is over)

Other flu symptoms include:

  • poor appetite
  • sweating
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (more common with children

Usually, flu symptoms last for 7 to 10 days.

Flu symptoms are different from cold symptoms. The flu is more likely to cause fever, headaches, body or muscle aches, or extreme tiredness. Not sure if your symptoms are due to a cold or the flu? Use our "Is it a cold or the flu?" tool to learn how to tell the difference.

Some people may develop serious health problems from the flu (these are called complications). Use our tool "Are you at risk of flu complications?" to see if you are at risk of flu complications.