As we go through flu season, it can become increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the average flu cold and COVID-19. While they are both infectious viruses and many of the symptoms are similar, there are crucial differences. Our guidelines will help you understand these differences so you can best take care of yourself and your family.
The flu and COVID-19 due share many similar symptoms including: fever, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, runny nose and sore throat. COVID does have a distinctly different symptom from the flu: change or total loss of taste and smell.
Symptoms in both flu and COVID can appear within one day though COVID does typically take longer for symptoms to reveal themselves and can appear after five days in most cases. In certain rare cases, symptoms may not appear until 14 days after infection.
You can spread the virus for about 2 days before experiencing signs or symptoms and remain contagious for at least 10 days after the first appearance of symptoms.
Both viruses can be spread from person to person when in close contact with each other (about 6 feet). They can also survive on surfaces and be picked up when touched by hands.
COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu and there is a greater risk of super spreader events with COVID than the flu, making it far more dangerous.
At-risk groups such as older people, those with medical conditions and pregnant women are the most at risk to both the flu and COVID. Other high risk groups include people:
- have a learning disability
- have a lung condition that's not severe
- have high blood pressure
- have a medical condition that can affect your breathing
- are taking medicine that can affect your immune system
- are residents of nursing homes and other long-stay settings
There are a number of influenza antiviral drugs that are FDA approved and available for consumer use. On the other hand, the treatment options for COVID-19 are a relatively small pool. Remdesivir is an antiviral agent that is being explored as an option and is available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). However, this is not an FDA approved method for COVID treatment. Right now, no vaccine has yet to be given full FDA approval for administration in the United States, though it does appear that the rollout of COVID vaccines will happen through to 2021.
Testing remains one of our most powerful tools in managing the COVID pandemic. With so many similarities in the symptoms of COVID and the flu, accurate testing is the only way you can have true clarity and peace of mind.
IndyCare now offers new curbside care, allowing you to be seen safely in your car for COVID symptoms, RSV, Flu, Strep throat, or even the common cold. At IndyCare we offer a number of testing and planning options including curbside care, video visits and private clinic visits, ensuring that you can make the best decision for you and your family.
Contact us at 919-245-1213 to learn more about our COVID-19 Tests or review our testing options here.