How serious can the flu be?

March 1, 2013


Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH
President & CEO

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Most people believe that the flu is just like a cold. Some will say to themselves, “I’ll only be sick with a stuffy nose and cough for a few days and recover quickly.” This may or may not be true. No one can tell how serious the flu will be for one person compared to another. Some people may be sick only a few days, and others could be sick for up to two weeks.

Symptoms of the flu are similar to those someone might feel if they have a cold, but, in general, the flu is worse than a cold. With the flu, fever, body aches, fatigue, and dry cough are more common and intense than with a cold. Those with a cold are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, and colds are usually minor.

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