Is it COVID-19 or Flu? How to Tell the Difference

Cold Flu

Remember when a cough was just a cough? Most of the time it still is. After all, a cough is just your body's way of responding when something irritates your throat or airways. Thus, an occasional cough is normal and healthy.

But what if your cough persists? Then it could be from one of the seasonal allergies we suffer from in Colorado like ragweed. But if you’re also suffering from a stuffy nose, achiness, maybe a sore throat and the beginning of a fever, then they could be signs of flu. But they’re also indicators of a COVID-19 infection. So how can you tell the difference?

First of all, don’t panic. COVID-19 and influenza have many overlapping signs and ailments, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Some of the common conditions that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illnesses, including those listed above. If you don't have a fever and your eyes aren't itchy, it's probably the common cold, not COVID-19. Flu symptoms usually appear from one to four days after exposure.

COVID-19 appears to be more contagious and to spread more quickly than the flu. With it you may experience loss of taste or smell and its symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure. Be alert for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone shows any of these indicators, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • Confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

The only positive way to know whether you have COVID-19 or flu is to be tested by a healthcare provider. You can discuss your symptoms with them to determine if you meet the criteria for testing.

Getting a yearly flu vaccine is the best way to prevent infection with influenza. They’re usually available each year in the fall. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important to be vaccinated against the flu to avoid a mistaken diagnosis of COVID-19 and preserve healthcare resources. And there is no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting COVID-19.

Your best protections against COVID-19 and influenza are to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC – wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay at least six feet apart. Keeping your Colorado home and work area clean and regularly disinfected is also a huge step in staying healthy.

Cyclone Kleen Up can assist you with that. We’re experienced in dealing with viral outbreaks. Our Extreme Clean System is one of the fastest and safest ways to completely remove viruses, bacteria, and other disease-carrying germs and contaminants, including the Coronavirus. Contact Cyclone Kleenup online to request an appointment for preventive services ASAP.

*This list does not include all potential symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other conditions that are severe or are troubling you.