Different Types of Flu & Their Symptoms

Flu is a deadly virus responsible for the loss of lot of lives across the globe. It is a seasonal respiratory disease that may start showing up symptoms anywhere between the first to fourth day of infection. It is important to know about the different types of flu and their symptoms. Read on to know more.

The symptoms of flu can be quite severe and may stay up to 2 weeks to develop. While the symptoms of different types of flu may vary to some extent, some complaints are usually common. Flu symptoms like cough, fever, body aches, and runny nose are common, however in certain cases, the symptoms may become severe and lead to complications like inflammation in the lung, also called as pneumonia.

Different Types of Flu & Their Symptoms

Different Types of Flu & Their Symptoms

If you are wondering about the different types of flu and their symptoms, here is a list of the commonest types.


Pneumonia is one of the different types of flu, which is often serious and is characterized by the inflammation of lungs. People who are above 65 years of age or infants and younger children are more prone to pneumonia, due to weaker immunity. It usually occurs as a complication of cold caused due to viruses.

Symptoms of Pneumonia: The symptoms of pneumonia include running nose, cough, headache, fatigue, body pain and breathing difficulty, which vary from mild to severe. Visit your doctor straight away if you experience:-

Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent further complications. People who have a habit of smoking or individuals who are suffering from cardiac problems have greater chance of having pneumonia.

Stomach Flu

When your stomach aches, the first thought that come to one’s mind is that it might be probably due to some gastric problem or stomach flu. This is one of the commonest different types of flu. Stomach flu can be understood as a type of gastroenteritis.

Stomach Flu Symptoms: Fever, diarrhea and nausea are the common symptoms of stomach flu. It is important to diagnose stomach flu on time and distinguish it from the regular flu symptoms, to receive proper treatment. Younger children are at higher risk of suffering from stomach flu, which can cause dehydration and even death.

H1N1 Flu

H1N1 flu, also termed as swine flu. It is caused by H1N1 virus. Back in 2009, during a worldwide outburst, was declared as pandemic by WHO. It is one of the different types of flu and is considered serious. However, now, with the discovery of vaccine and flu shots, it can be prevented with vaccines and treated with medicines. It is an airborne infection and spreads by coming in contact with an infected person or its droplets. If left untreated, H1N1 flu may get worse and may also develop pneumonia, breathing problems and lung infection.

H1N1 Flu Symptoms: Fever, headache, cough, body ache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose are some of the commonest symptoms of H1N1 flu. If you experience these symptoms or they worsen, especially during the flu season, it is advised to visit a physician.

Avian Flu

Avian flu is caused by a virus called as H5N1 virus. On getting infected with H5N1 virus, a patient shall experience difficulty in breathing, cough and high fever. The statistics reveal that around 60% of the individuals found infected with Avian flu, died. As the name suggests, avian flu spreads from birds to human beings. The most common source is chicken.

Avian Flu Symptoms: The symptoms of avian flu shall differ from person to person however the most common symptoms include high fever, difficulty in respiration, malaise, cough along with diarrhea, severe headache, sore throat, body and muscle ache and running nose.

Variant Flu

Variant flu is caused by H3N2v virus, which is also called as a variant virus. As compared to other different flu types, its symptoms are not life threatening however complications may develop, if left untreated. The variant virus is present in pigs and the humans may get infected with the virus when the sneeze or droplet of the pig, land in human’s mouth. This type of flu is generally seen in children as adults are immune to the H3N2v virus.

Variant Flu Symptoms: A person infected with variant flu shall experience fever, body and muscle ache, chills, cough, sore throat and fatigue, as these are the commonest symptoms of variant flu. Since it normally happens in children; therefore, it is advised to rush to a pediatrician as soon as you witness any of these symptoms.


Ebola is considered as a dangerous disease as it took away lives of approximately 2500 people, in US, recently. The first ever outbreak of Ebola occurred in Africa. The most visible symptoms that help in diagnosing Ebola are external and internal bleeding and vomiting. It is also one of the different types of flu and the virus spreads through getting in contact with the body fluids.

Ebola Symptoms: The early symptoms of Ebola include bruises over the body, unexplained bleeding, fever, vomiting, headache, severe stomach ache, muscle and body ache. These symptoms may appear within 2 to 21 days of infection. On witnessing these symptoms, it is strongly advised to visit your physician as soon as possible and try and remain in isolation so as to avoid infecting your next of kin.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

MERS is one of the different types of flu, an airborne disease and the virus spreads from camel to humans. The first ever encounter of MERS occurred in Saudi Arabia.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Symptoms: Apart from the early signs and symptoms of MERS, which includes respiratory issues, cough and fever, various other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disorders as well as kidney failure may also occur. Since, it’s a deadly disease; it is advised to visit your physician as soon as you witness these symptoms.


Norovirus is similar to stomach flu and is also one of the different types of flu. It spreads by eating contaminated food. The most visible symptom of norovirus is diarrhea and vomiting, which may last up to 3 – 4 days.

The easiest way to prevent norovirus from spreading is to maintain personal hygiene before cooking as well as eating.

Norovirus Symptoms: The signs and symptoms of flu due to Norovirus generally start appearing after 12 – 48 hours of infection. Some of the early signs and symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, muscle and body ache, malaise and nausea. Since diarrhea depletes the body nutrients and minerals which if not replenished on time, can lead to the death of the individual. It is therefore advised to visit your physician as soon as you witness these symptoms and take oral rehydration solution (ORS) as a first aid medication.

Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is also known as pertussis. It mostly occurs in infants and kids however with a timely vaccine, it can be prevented. The most visible symptom of whooping cough is persistent cough which may last up to one minute. The most dreadful thing about the cough is its spell as the cough is dry. It may even frighten the people sitting around the patient.

Whooping Cough Symptoms: Apart from persistent cough, the symptoms of whooping cough include high fever, sneezing as well as running nose. Some patients may also suffer from diarrhea.

General Symptoms of Different Types of Flu

Some of the general symptoms of different types of flu include the following.

Fever. When an individual suffers from flu, fever can go as high as 104°F. Children can experience temperature as high as 106°F. Fever can last up to 7 days.

Cough. It is usually the commonest symptom of flu that goes unnoticed. During the initial stages, the cough can be dry as well as irritating. Shortness of breath and discomfort in breathing is also a common symptom of flu. Visit your doctor if you experience breathing problems. A cough can last up to 15 days.

Headache. Headache can be terrible but is often a common symptom of flu. The pain can be felt all over the forehead as well as behind the eyes. One may also sense burning sensation and redness in the eyes during flu along with severe headache.

Joint Aches. Joint aches can be severe during flu, especially if it happens during the winter season. The pain can be felt in back, legs or arms. This is one of the commonest symptoms of different types of flu.

Sore Throat. A sore throat, another symptom of flu might last up to 7 days.

Weakness. When flu attacks the body, it is impossible to attend school, offices and conduct daily activities. Weakness or fatigues is commonly experienced and is one of the important symptoms of flu. Doctors may consider giving multi-vitamins, if appropriate.

Nausea and Vomiting. Flu may also cause nausea, vomiting and dizziness, especially in children.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Flu

Some of the symptoms of different types of flu can be alarming. It is highly recommended to consult your physician when you are experiencing the following medical conditions:-

  • When the flu symptoms become worse.
  • When the flu symptoms last for more than 14 days.
  • When the fever is constant at 103 degrees Fahrenheit for more than a day.

If you have a child or a senior citizen at home with the following flu symptoms, they should be immediately taken to the medical care provider for an emergency treatment:-

Senior Citizens. Do not ignore these flu signs and symptoms in a senior citizen; seek immediate medical aid.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Severe wooziness
  • Vomiting
  • Fever not dropping below 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Worsening of the cough

Children. The following symptoms in children may need immediate medical attention

  • Blue skin
  • Rapid breathing or difficulties in breathing
  • Being cranky
  • Difficulty in drinking anything
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever accompanied by rashes
  • Flu indicators appearing repeatedly.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 21, 2021

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