Since the symptoms of an influenza infection are very different from the common cold, the diagnosis can be made fairly quickly. A doctor will be able to tell that you have the flu if you have at least some or most of these symptoms:

  • high fever
  • aches and pains everywhere, especially in the back and legs
  • bad headache
  • sensitivity to light
  • red and watery eyes and a runny nose
  • nauseous feeling and possible vomiting
  • dry cough at first, then bringing up sputum
  • burning sensation in the chest

If there is any doubt, a doctor can make sure that it's the flu by taking a sample of your nasal secretions or sputum (phlegm) and testing it for the virus. This is rarely needed.

Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team