Is it the flu, a cold or COVID? How to tell the three apart

flu cold covid

What is the difference between them?

Now that the pandemic has turned the world upside down, it is extra important to be aware of the symptoms of COVID. But that gets a lot harder during the season of runny noses and persistent coughs. So how do you know whether you have COVID or if it’s just a regular cold?

COVID-19 and a cold

When you have been infected with the COVID-19 virus called SARS-CoV-2, you should make sure you don’t come into contact with other people. But it gets tricky when the symptoms of this respiratory disease are similar to the ones that belong to the flu and common cold. Luckily, there are some symptoms that are different.

When you have COVID, you have the usual ‘cold-like’ symptoms. Like a cough, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. But with COVID-19, there are some other symptoms that make it distinguishable from a regular cold. According to¬†Mayo Clinic, people infected with Coronavirus usually also experience headaches, muscle aches, tiredness and a fever. Other symptoms that indicate that you might be dealing with COVID-19, are loss of taste or smell, diarrhea and vomiting.

Of course, the best way to find out whether you have COVID-19 or a cold, is to test. That way you can be sure that it is safe to head outside.

The flu and COVID-19

Both diseases are caused by a virus, making them pretty similar and it can be very easy to mistake COVID for a regular flu. All the symptoms, like headaches, a cough, muscle aches, fatigue, a sore throat, a fever, shortness of breath and a runny nose, are linked to both COVID and the flu. So how do you tell the two apart? One of the ways to figure out whether you have the flu or something worse, is by examining your sense of taste and smell. Losing the ability to taste or smell something rarely occurs with the flu. In COVID, those symptoms are more common.

Again: the best way to find out whether you have COVID-19 or the flu, is by taking a test. That way you’ll be safe rather than sorry.

Also read: US implements mandatory COVID-testing for travellers from China

Source: Libelle, Mayo Clinic | Image: Pixabay