As we head into autumn, that means we are also heading into the dreaded flu season. Normally this time is bad enough with missed days at work and school, but it is made all the trickier to navigate through as 2021 is another year in which flu season occurs while this Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been living through continues to rumble on.
Like most people, you probably realise that the flu and Covid-19 share a lot of symptoms. Perhaps you are feeling ill right now or just want a heads-up of how you tell whether it’s one thing or the other thing.
There is only one definitive way to know either what you are feeling is Covid-19 or the flu and that is testing. If you are up to date with your flu vaccination (if you qualify for it) ad have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, you could still get either virus.
Apart from testing, you may wonder if there is any other way to tell. In the following post, to give you some help, we are going to discuss each virus and look at both the similar and different symptoms. This information, although not conclusive, may help indicate which, if any, it is more likely you are suffering from.
Similarities in Symptoms
It is important to note that all respiratory illnesses have similar symptoms. The respiratory system is responsible for helping you breathe properly and includes your blood vessels, lungs, and airways. Therefore, when a virus or bacteria gets in there, it can affect the whole system and similar symptoms can develop.
Of the many symptoms shared by both these illnesses, the most common are:
- Fever of over 100-degrees Fahrenheit
- Body aches and muscular pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue and weakness
Differences in Symptoms
Now, while we’ve shown that there are indeed many similarities in the symptoms related to Covid-19 and the flu, there are also some very specific differences you need to be aware of, such as:
The onset of the symptoms – generally speaking, flu symptoms develop very quickly, within 1 to 4 days after you’ve been infected. Whereas Covid-19 symptoms can take longer. Although they can start as early as just 2 days after infection, 5 days is more likely with Covid-19. There is also the chance that you could have Covid-19 without any symptoms for at least 14 days, and some never do for the entire time they are sick.
Type of Cough and How Severe It Is – while the kind of cough you get from the flu is dry and mild, the one you get with Covid-19 is typically a lot stronger and more persistent. In worst-case scenarios, it can make you short of breath.
Symptoms Unique to Covid-19 – there are some symptoms of Covid-19 that are almost completely unique to that illness and do not tend to be shared with the flu, including:
- New and very sudden loss in sense of smell or taste
- Constant shaking with chills
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Do Symptoms of Covid-19 and Flu Differ Between Children and Adults? Women and Men?
This is a commonly asked question. Generally, the symptoms for the flu and Covid-19 are more or less the exact same for women and men, whether older or younger. The factor that seems to make the most difference, however, is having serious underlying conditions. That appears to increase the risk of more severe symptoms and complications.
Children Are More Likely to Suffer Gastrointestinal Issues
It’s worth noting following on from the above that when it comes to the flu and Covid-19, symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting are more commonly experienced b children and not adults. Therefore, there is an increased dehydration risk. Parents are advised to be vigilant when it comes to looking out for issues and symptoms related to dehydration like no urine for at least 8 hours or more, no tears when they are crying and a dry mouth.
As the Cvoid-19 pandemic is still a serious health crisis, there is still much we have to learn about it. However, the above information should help you be more aware of the symptoms. The advice is still that you should get tested if you suspect you have Covid-19.