COVID, cough or flu?

Archive, COVID Blog, COVID Facts, Month, November, Staying Healthy

Similar symptoms among the three illnesses can cause confusion

Entering the colder months, the traditional common cold and flu seasons has been aggressively complicated by the on-going pandemic.

With varying levels of symptom severity, confusion can result from the respiratory distress often associated with both a cold and the flu. Confusion is now further compounded with the respiratory symptoms caused by COVID-19.

When trying to distinguish between the illnesses, adding to the complexity are the other symptoms shared by the conditions.

Fever, chills and body aches. Cough and congestion. Those symptoms are associated to all three conditions. Sore throats are frequent in colds and the flu. Shortness of breath and fatigue are signs of the flu and COVID-19.

How, then, does one figure out which conditions their symptoms are associated with?

While many of the symptoms of each condition are similar, variations in those symptoms can help in determining which affliction is ailing the patient.

For instance, a cough is symptomatic of each, but it’s a dry cough that’s symptomatic of COVID-19 while a wet cough is associated with a cold and the flu. And COVID-19 is the only of the three illnesses that can lead to a loss of taste and smell.

Best practices

For the benefit of everyone, physicians and public health experts strongly urge everyone eligible to get their annual flu shot. (A recent study just revealed additional benefits of the flu shot.)

Doing so will aid in protecting against a double infection of the flu and COVID-19, resulting in a potentially devastating effect on the body.

And should anyone question if their symptoms are a development of COVID-19 or if it’s suspected, the only way to truly determine a COVID-19 diagnosis (or the flu, or to definitively rule both out) is to get a test.