Health One Family Medicine

Flu vs. Common Cold vs. Coronavirus: How to Distinguish

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, many comparisons have been made between the virus, influenza (flu) and the common cold.

It is extremely important to create awareness between these 3 different health conditions that are very different but have very similar symptoms so more people can implement preventative health measures.

Let us have a look at some factors that will determine whether you have the Coronavirus, common cold, or flu.

COVID-19 vs. Flu: The Similarities and Differences

Even though you can contract any of these diseases all year round, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between them when the winter season is dawning upon us.

Coronavirus and flu are both diseases of the respiratory system. Both conditions start with the patient having mild symptoms. In some cases, these diseases also get severe and may cause death.

Symptoms of Flu:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain

Symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressure or pain in the chest

The main difference between a flu and the Coronavirus is the incubation period. Influenza has a shorter incubation period, roughly 3 to 5 days. COVID-19, on the other hand, has an incubation period of up to 14 days. This shows that influenza can spread faster than COVID-19.

Children are the most imminent carriers of influenza, whereas data shows that COVID-19 is more common in adults aged 19 and above.

Do I have a Common Cold or Flu?

The common cold is milder than both influenza and the Coronavirus, even though it can sometimes make you feel more miserable than the other 2 diseases. While the common cold is also caused by an infection in the respiratory system, it is easier to treat.

A cold will last 6 to 10 days and can be treated with many readily available, over-the-counter medicines. If you have a robust immune system, your fight against the common cold will be swift.

Common Cold Symptoms:

  • Dry or wet cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Body ache
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery eyes

Prevention Is Crucial!

Whether you have the Coronavirus, common cold, or flu, prevention is essential. It would be best if you would take the following precautionary measures:

  • Wash your hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Avoid sharing dishes and glasses with other people
  • Maintain your distance
  • Cover your mouth when sneezing
  • Wear a mask
  • Self-isolate and take a COVID-19 test if you are showing symptoms

Health One Family Medicine: COVID-19 Testing

Health One Family Medicine provides fast and accurate COVID-19 testing services in Irving, Texas. If you feel asymptomatic, please schedule an appointment with us by visiting our website or calling at (469)262-5762. We also provide flu shots that can prevent you from catching the disease. Find out more about getting a flu shot by clicking here.