A lung doctor on the difference between COVID-19 and flu symptoms


As we enter the flu season at the same time as concerns about a “second wave” of the coronovirus epidemic, it grows more and more likely that cold or flu symptoms are mistaken for COVID-19 Can. In a new YouTube video, Pulmonary Medicine specialist Dr. Mike Hansen explains how to tell the difference between COVID, flu and the common cold as temperatures continue to fall.

“There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold,” he says. “The exact virus that causes the infection and how your body’s immune system reacts to that infection determines how severe the disease will be.”

In the case of COVID-19, an infected person is not yet required to display symptoms to spread the virus to others. “About 40 percent of viral transmissions occur before an infected person actually shows symptoms, he says. And one-third of people with COVID-19 never get symptoms.”

With the common cold, you are the most contagious right when you get the virus, before symptoms develop, although you remain contagious for the duration of the disease. And in the case of influenza, you are the most contagious of the day before this You get symptoms, and then remain contagious for about five days. “With any of these diseases, it is important to stay home to protect others from getting sick,” he says.

But what about the symptoms? For a cold, Hansen cites sneezing, a stuffy nose, a sore throat, and cough as the most common symptoms, which are most severe from two to four days of the disease – although coughing can persist for several weeks. . Symptoms of influenza often accompany fever, pain, and nausea.

The actual “wild card”, however, is COVID, as it is very inconsistent in which symptoms appear in patients, and how mild or strongly. The standout symptom that is unique to this virus is loss of senses of taste and / or smell. “When you compare COVID-19 to the flu, they can cause both viral pneumonia and ARDS, but COVID-19 is more likely to do so,” Henson says.

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“Symptoms just aren’t enough to determine if you have COVID-19 versus flu versus the common cold,” he continues. “You want to get a test done … It is also important to get a flu vaccination this year because of the epidemic.”

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