You may wonder if that cough or fever is the flu or COVID-19. Knowing the difference between these two highly contagious respiratory illnesses can help you get the right treatment for a speedy recovery.
What’s the flu? The flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by influenza viruses that target the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Spread by small droplets that are emitted while sneezing, coughing, or talking, this virus can be quite contagious. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, fatigue, and headaches.
If you have at least one of the above symptoms, you may be infected with the flu. These symptoms come on quickly, typically 1 – 4 days after your initial exposure. If you or a loved one displays any one of the above symptoms, it’s important to limit contact with others by staying home. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except for getting medical care. Getting plenty of rest and drinking water are additional ways to help your body fight off the virus.
What’s COVID-19? Similar to the flu, COVID-19 is an illness that targets the respiratory system such as the lungs, nose, and throat. This virus also spreads through droplets emitted when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. One key danger of COVID-19 is that someone who is infected may not display symptoms while still contagious. Those who are asymptomatic carriers can continue to spread the disease if they are not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask while in public places.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, chills, cough, fatigue, body aches, headaches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell.
While the flu symptoms can come on rapidly, COVID-19 symptoms can develop between 2 – 14 days after the initial exposure with the average case showing symptoms on the 5th day after exposure. Even though someone may not display symptoms until 5 days after the initial exposure, they could begin to spread the virus days before. If someone is experiencing at least two of the symptoms above, it’s important to get tested to know if you’re infected and self-isolate for a period of two-weeks to limit exposing others.
What’s the difference? The flu and COVID-19 contain remarkably similar symptoms, however, there are a few key differences. While coughing may indicate an infection of either disease, the flu produces a milder dry cough, with COVID-19 producing more of a persistent cough that’s also dry but can leave you short of breath. COVID-19 may also result in a new or sudden loss of taste or smell, which is different from the flu.
While comparing what you’re feeling to a list of symptoms can help you get a better understanding of what your body is fighting off, the only way to diagnose your illness is through testing. As COVID-19 cases are on the rise nationwide and flu season is here, call your DR. to get the information you need to stay safe.
Annmarie Dallao | ARCpoint Labs of Reading
Source: ARCpoint Labs Franchise Group