COVID-19 vs Flu Symptoms: How to Differentiate Between Them


With the sudden rise in the number of cases of the coronavirus, people are panicking and the whole nation is in chaos as the second wave led to numerous deaths. Many states have imposed complete lockdown in their region, still, the numbers are increasing in the nation. These days many people mistake flu symptoms for COVID-19 or vice versa and that is breaking the citizens mentally. If someone is experiencing mild throat pain or has a runny nose, they are probably assuming to be the symptoms of COVID-19 and immediately rushing to hospitals for tests.

This way, the chances of spreading the coronavirus are more because of lack of information. That is why we have provided important information regarding the differentiation between COVID-19 and the flu.

Similarities between COVID-19 and Flu

The basic similarity between COVID-19 and flu is that they are both respiratory illnesses but differ in the degree of risks and the level of infection. The method of transmission of both the illness is same. These illnesses transmit in the form of droplets, that is, aerosols and are airborne in nature.

There are only two ways of the spreading of SARS-COV-2 and influenza flu, that is, either by direct contact or through a contaminated surface. However, they spread in the form of large droplets and cause multiple infections in the respiratory canal.

According to recent studies and reports, COVID-19 spreads at a faster pace than influenza flu and causes serious illness in some people. COVID-19 and flu share the same signs, so it is hard to tell the difference between COVID-19 and Flu

List of common symptoms in COVID-19 and flu

Now, as we know that both COVID-19 and the flu are respiratory illnesses, they contain many common and varied ranges of symptoms that would result from mild to severe complications. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has carried out a list of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sense of smell

How to differentiate between COVID-19 and flu symptoms?

Flu viruses can be treated at home, there is no need to admit the patient to a hospital. But COVID-19 is more deadly than any other right now and it can lead to severe medical complications. According to CDC, a person who is suffering from the flu will develop symptoms from 1 to 4 days after infection, whereas a COVID patient will develop symptoms after 5 days after being infected.

However, recent studies show that symptoms of COVID-19 can appear within 2 days or as late as 14 days after infection.

Actually, there are three main points of differences between COVID-19 and the flu:

  • Feeling sick or nauseous is more frequent with COVID and less with flu.
  • Breath shortens in COVID but this symptom is not found in a person suffering from flu.
  • Loss of taste and smell is common in the coronavirus, but not so common in the flu.

Precautions for COVID-19

If you feel something odd or believe that you have COVID symptoms then you should immediately rush to COVID test centres. Until then, try to cover your face with a tightly fitted mask and isolate yourself. Sanitize and wash your hands from time to time and do not forget to sanitize the surfaces that you touched. Monitor your health regularly and in touch with the medical team to get better assistance.

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