Does the similar symptoms of COVID-19 and flu confuse you? Here’s how you can know the difference…

East Coast Daily September 26th, 2020 10:30

Its is almost impossible to tell without a test. Influenza and COVID-19 have such similar symptoms, you may need to get tested to know what’s making you miserable. Body aches, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and headaches are symptoms shared by the two.

One main difference is that people with the flu typically feel sickest during the first week of illness. With COVID-19, people may feel the worst during the second or third week, and they may be sicker for a longer period. Another difference is that COVID-19 is more likely than the flu to cause a loss of taste or smell. But not everyone experiences that symptom, so its not a reliable way to tell the difference.

That leaves testing, which will become more important as flu season ramps up this fall in the Northern Hemisphere. Doctors will need to know test results to determine the best treatment. Its also possible to be infected with both viruses at the same time. Whether you get tested for one or both viruses may depend on how available tests are and which viruses are circulating where you live.

Both the flu and coronavirus spread through droplets from the nose and mouth. Both can spread before people know they are sick. The flu has a shorter incubation period meaning after infection it can take one to four days to feel sick compared to the coronavirus, which can take two to 14 days from infection to symptoms. COVID-19 is more contagious than flu. But many people with COVID-19 don’t spread the virus to anyone, while a few people spread it to many others.

Preventing the flu starts with an annual flu shot made to measure the strains of the flu virus that are circulating. There’s no vaccine yet for COVID-19, although several candidates are in the final testing stages. Precautions against COVID-19 masks, social distancing, hand-washing also slow the spread of the flu, so health officials hope continued vigilance could lessen the severity of this year’s flu season.

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