Health & Medical

Winter Flu and COVID-19: What’s the Difference?

A woman dealing with a bad bout of flu.
Written by Nancy

In the United States, fall and winter are popularly known as flu seasons. According to the CDC, flu activity particularly peaks from December to February. Unfortunately, the country is also battling a pandemic, which means it’s normal for you to mix up the symptoms. Here is a guide to help you differentiate:


The similarities


Both influenza and coronavirus are highly contagious, infectious respiratory diseases. In both cases, the symptoms range from being completely asymptomatic to severe symptoms. Common symptoms experienced in both situations include fatigue, runny nose, nasal congestion, muscle pain, body ache, sore throat, fever, cough, headache, and shortness of breath. Most children may also experience symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.


In both cases, the infected individual usually starts experiencing symptoms one or more days after contracting the virus; however, the timeframe can be longer in the case of coronavirus. An individual may start experiencing covid19 symptoms even 14 days after the infection.


Both flu and COVID19 are transmitted from one individual to another if they stand in close proximity, via air droplets and human contact. Infants, older adults, and those with underlying medical conditions are at a greater risk of hospitalizations in both cases. Both conditions can result in complications such as pneumonia and respiratory failure.


A woman wearing a mask to stay safe from COVID19.


The differences


The main difference between influenza and covid19 is that they’re both caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, whereas SARS-CoV-2 causes COVID19. Other than that, the coronavirus infection spreads faster and often results in more serious complications. According to the CDC, Other than that, a COVID19-infected individual may also experience a loss of sense of taste and smell.


An individual with flu can spread the virus even a day before showing any symptoms and remains contagious for about seven days. An individual with COVID19 remains contagious even ten days after they start showing any symptoms. However, the exact timeframe for how long they’ll continue to spread the virus is still under investigation, according to the CDC. Additional complications in the case of covid19 also include blood clots in veins.


The FDA has approved influenza antiviral drugs to treat it. However, there are currently no drugs approved by the administration for COVID19.


Seek help!


The easiest way to determine whether you have COVID19 is to get the RT-PCR and antigen testing done. Before that, you can also speak with a doctor to discuss your symptoms. FastDocNow is an online healthcare service through which you can schedule a telemedicine appointment with an online doctor now. Get started.


Disclaimer: The content and information provided in this blog and any linked material on this website are not intended as or should not be construed as professional medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare providers or your physician for any questions and concerns regarding specific medical conditions or before making a decision regarding your personal healthcare.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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