For current information on the 2012 - 2013 flu season, check out Flu Symptoms 2013 and share your story.
We are in the midst of flu season here in the United States. It seems everywhere you go, at least half of the people around you are sick.
So how do you know if that runny nose and cough are caused by a cold, the flu or something else? For the past couple of years, we have been dealing with H1N1 (swine flu) and there is actually still a good deal of it going around. Symptoms of H1N1 are very similar to those of the typical seasonal flu, with just a few differences.
Usually the easiest way to differentiate between a cold and the flu is how you feel. The flu hits you like a brick wall and it's hard to even get out of bed. The cold starts out slow and gradually gets worse, but you can usually function through it.
Flu symptoms for 2011 aren't any different than any other year, but this easy to read chart may help you figure out what is causing your illness.
Share Your Story
Have you had the flu this year? If so, share with us what your flu symptoms were and how the flu affected you. You can also read about how the flu has affected other readers.
Update for 2011-2012 Flu Season
August 2011 - Now that flu season is closing in again, more people are starting to experience flu symptoms. These symptoms may range from a fever for a couple of days to being unable to get out of bed for a week. Although we haven't seen any widespread flu outbreaks in the US yet this flu season, that doesn't mean the virus isn't out there. Researchers expect the same or very similar strains of influenza that caused illness last year to make us sick again this year, so the flu vaccine will be the same as it was last year. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get it though.
January 2012 - Flu activity is still relatively low across most of the US, but that doesn't mean the virus isn't out there. For more up to date information on how the flu is affecting people now, see Flu Symptoms 2012.
Unfortunately, protection from the flu vaccine only lasts about 6 months, so even if you got the vaccine last year, you will need to be vaccinated again this year.