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Do I have the flu or COVID-19? Here’s how to tell

While the viruses are similar, symptoms set them apart

Sick woman and man have cold, flu and high fever.
Sick woman and man have cold, flu and high fever.

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, we have been on high alert if someone coughs near us or we feel ourselves getting a sore throat. Let’s face it, we immediately fear the worst.

Not to mention, we’re probably used to hearing Cardi B yell, “Coronavirus,” as we go about our day touching different surfaces.

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As we head into fall and flu season, it’s best to know what symptoms coincide with each sickness.

By now, we have all heard that COVID-19 is like the flu, and while the pair of viruses may share a trait or two, there are numerous differences that can help you differentiate between which virus you may have.

We analyzed symptoms from multiple sources to create the following graph. Keep in mind that symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

SymptomsFluCoronavirus
Sneezing
Stuffy Nose✔️✔️
Runny Nose✔️✔️
Sore Throat✔️✔️
Mucus
Coughing✔️✔️
Fever✔️✔️
Muscle & Body Aches✔️✔️
Headaches✔️✔️
Fatigue✔️
Vomiting✔️✔️
Diarrhea✔️✔️
Shortness of Breath✔️
Nausea✔️
Loss of Tase or Smell✔️

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says to look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19 on top of the above symptoms. Health officials said if you are feeling any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.

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

Another possibility is that you picked up a cold along the way. This sickness, however, is very different from its counterparts.

While it may be self-explanatory, here’s how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu.

SymptomsFluCold
Sneezing✔️
Stuffy Nose✔️✔️
Runny Nose✔️
Sore Throat✔️✔️
Mucus
Coughing✔️✔️
Fever✔️
Muscle & Body Aches✔️✔️
Headaches✔️✔️
Fatigue✔️
Vomiting✔️
Diarrhea✔️
Shortness of Breath
Nausea
Watery Eyes✔️

As the weather begins to change and winter comes around, it’s best to prepare yourself by taking these necessary steps to ensure you and your family stay healthy during the flu season.

As with any illness, it’s best to visit a doctor if any of the symptoms get worse or last longer than two weeks.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.


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