A pulmonologist on the difference between COVID-19 and flu symptoms

A pulmonologist on the difference between COVID-19 and flu symptoms
A pulmonologist on the difference between COVID-19 and flu symptoms

As we enter the flu season at the same time as we enter the flu season with concerns about a “second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic, it becomes increasingly likely that cold or flu symptoms will be confused with COVID-19. In a new YouTube video, pulmonologist Dr. Mike Hansen, How to Tell the Difference Between COVID, Flu, and Cold When Temperatures Keep Dropping.

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

In the case of COVID-19, an infected person does not necessarily have to have symptoms to pass the virus on to other people. “About 40 percent of virus transmission occurs before an infected person actually shows symptoms,” he says. “And up to a third of people with COVID-19 never get symptoms.”

The common cold is most contagious if you get the virus before you develop symptoms, although you will remain contagious for the duration of the illness. And in the case of influenza, this is the most contagious day In front They get symptoms and then remain contagious for about five days. “With any of these illnesses, it’s important to stay home to prevent others from getting sick,” he says.

But what about the symptoms? For a cold, Hansen names sneezing, a stuffy nose, sore throat and cough as the most common symptoms, and they are most severe from the second to fourth day of the illness – although the cough can last for several weeks. Influenza symptoms often appear the same, along with fever, pain, and nausea.

The real “wild card”, however, is COVID because it is so inconsistent which symptoms are manifested in patients and how mild or severe. The standout symptom that is unique to this virus is the loss of the senses of taste and / or smell. “If you compare COVID-19 to the flu, both of them can cause viral pneumonia and ARDS, but COVID-19 is more likely to do that,” Hansen says.

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“Symptoms alone are not enough to tell if you have COVID-19 for the flu or the common cold,” he continues. “You’re going to want to take a test … It’s also important to get the flu shot this year more than ever because of the pandemic.”

Philip Ellis
Philip Ellis is a UK-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ + issues.

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