Other conditions with symptoms similar to the flu

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether you have influenza or some other viral illness. Many other respiratory viruses, including common cold viruses (rhinoviruses), may mimic the symptoms of a minor case of the flu.

Conditions that people mistake for the flu include:

Viral infections such as a cold or flu tend to cause widespread symptoms, such as fever, body aches, a headache, and a sore throat. Bacterial infections tend to have specific symptoms involving only one system, such as a fever and sore throat only.

The flu makes you feel much worse than the common cold. Symptoms often include fever and cough within the first 48 hours of the illness.

Last Updated: July 31, 2008

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