01/7COVID or seasonal flu? Know the difference

The monsoons have surely granted us a period of relief from extreme heat and warmth. However, it has also brought along a wave of infections and viral illnesses.

Many cases of seasonal flu have emerged across the country, wherein people are reporting mild COVID-like symptoms. The similarities between the two respiratory illnesses have led to widespread confusion in the past and continues to cause uncertainty.

Having said that, it is important to know the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal flu.

Also read: Coronavirus: Study finds three types of long COVID; notes symptoms of each

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02/7Why is it difficult to tell COVID and seasonal flu apart?

Having a sore throat, runny nose, body aches and pains is no longer just a flu symptom.

With the Omicron infection, COVID symptoms have changed dramatically. While during the Delta wave, symptoms like high fever, persistent cough and loss of sense of smell and taste were among the most common COVID symptoms, the Omicron has given light to symptoms that are much milder and resemble a common cold or the flu.

Also read: Monkeypox: Patient shares horrific experience of developing 'large puss-filled bumps' on face

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03/7Symptoms that may help differentiate between the two

Both SARs-CoV-2 and influenza are respiratory viruses that are contagious and can affect your lungs and breathing. Patients infected with COVID or the flu can experience similar symptoms ranging from fever, cough, body aches, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle pain, headache and gastrointestinal issues.

However, COVID-19 can cause different complications from the flu, such as blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Furthermore, experts believe symptoms like loss of sense of smell and taste are specific to COVID-19, which was prevalent during the Delta wave.

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04/7Note the difference in the duration of the illness

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the case of COVID-19, a person may experience symptoms anywhere from 2 to 14 days after infection, whereas a person with flu infection may experience symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection.

Furthermore, most people with flu are contagious for about 1 day before they show symptoms. With COVID-19, experts are still looking into how long a person can spread the virus. But on average, people can begin spreading the virus 2-3 days before their symptoms begin, shares the healthy agency.

People can also continue to spread the virus 8 days after their symptoms begin.

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05/7Severity risk is much greater with COVID-19

The rate of transmission and the risk of severity is said to be much greater with COVID-19 than with the flu.

According to the Mayo Clinic, severe illness such as lung injury is more frequent with COVID-19 than with influenza and the mortality rate is also higher with COVID-19 than with the flu.

“Compared to flu, COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people. COVID-19 can also take longer before people show symptoms, and people can remain contagious for longer periods of time,” as per the CDC.

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06/7The best way to differentiate between COVID and flu

Getting a COVID-19 diagnostic test is the best way to confirm your illness. If you want a prompt result, you can take a rapid antigen test, or you can choose an RT PCR test, which can take longer, but can give you a more accurate and reliable result.

If you’re experiencing a symptomatic illness, it is best to isolate yourself, until your test results come back as negative.

Maintain your distance from those who are vulnerable, including older adults, people with pre-existing health conditions and those who are immunocompromised.

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07/7Protect yourself

Masking is one of the best possible ways to protect yourself against COVID-19 as well as the flu. Given that both these illnesses are contagious and highly transmissible, maintaining distance from an infected person is crucial.

Get your COVID-19 vaccine and your flu shots on time. These can give you the necessary protection against the viruses.

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