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FAQ: Flu Season Amidst COVID-19 – How to Differentiate Between Symptoms?

COVID-19 and seasonal flu can have almost similar signs and symptoms. How do you know the difference?

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F.A.Q
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>How do you differentiate between flu and COVID-19? Here's a short primer.</p></div>
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COVID-19 has put “health and wellness” at the top of everyone’s priority. With health in the to-do-list, flu season can be particularly stressful for the healthcare in India.

The sudden rise in flu-like symptoms has made it vital to understand the difference between both the illnesses.

How do you differentiate between flu and COVID-19? Here's a short primer.

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What is the difference between the causes of these two viruses?

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses.

  • COVID-19 is caused by a novel strain of coronavirus, ie, SARS-CoV-2, which was first identified in China.

  • Flu is induced by infection with influenza viruses.

What are the similarities between flu and COVID-19?

All respiratory illnesses share some similar symptoms. The most common ones include:

  • Fever (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit)

  • Chills and fatigue

  • Headache

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

  • Body ache

Due to the similarity in symptoms and the difference in its reception from person-to-person, the only way to confirm if it is flu or COVID-19 is through testing.

When should I get tested?

Doctors believe that if symptoms persist for over 48 hours or the condition gets worse, one must get tested for COVID-19.

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How are the symptoms of COVID-19 different from that of flu?

According to FIT, the COVID-19 symptoms that do not overlap or are rare in flu are:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Loss of smell and taste

  • Rashes on skin

How long does it take for symptoms to appear after infection in both the viruses?

  • In flu, it takes 1 to 4 days for a person to experience symptoms after being infected.

  • COVID-19 symptoms generally take 2-14 days to appear after exposure.

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Between COVID-19 and flu – which one is more severe and spreads faster?

COVID-19 is more contagious and spreads faster than flu. Severe illnesses are more frequent with COVID-19 than the influenza. The mortality rate of COVID-19 is also higher than that of flu, various studies show.

What are the vaccines available for flu and COVID-19?

Multiple FDA-licensed influenza vaccines are available for protection against flu.

There are only limited number of vaccines produced – approved for emergency use – for protection against COVID-19. In India, you can currently get a jab of Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik V, if you are above 18 years of age.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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