Clinical Information

Symptoms of Influenza

In adults, the symptoms of influenza can include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Tiredness/extreme exhaustion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

In children, influenza may present as:

  • High fever
  • Listlessness or lack of energy
  • Cough

Children can also get diarrhoea and vomiting with influenza infection.

The features that usually distinguish influenza from the common cold are:

  • Duration of symptoms - typically 1-2 weeks for influenza, a few days for a cold.
  • Fever - which is often high with influenza but infrequent and mild with a cold.
  • Muscular aches and shivering - which are common with influenza but rare with a cold.
  • Unlike the common cold, it may take several weeks to fully recover from influenza, even for healthy younger people, and for some people the infection may lead to serious consequences including hospitalisation and death.

Page published:  January 2014

Last reviewed: 5 October 2015