Coronavirus vs Common Cold: How to tell the difference

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Coronavirus vs Common Cold: How to tell the difference

As the number of continued cases of Coronavirus continues to rise globally, people are more vigilant of potentially contracting the virus, spreading and what symptoms they will face as a result. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 so you can seek help and testing if you think you may have it. Since coronavirus symptoms can be similar to a common cold or the flu, telling the difference between those and COVID-19 can be tricky. Here’s what infectious disease experts  want you to know when it comes to coronavirus vs the common cold: 


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is currently no cure for Coronavirus. The symptoms of Coronavirus can include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Aches and pain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath


People living with certain conditions like lung disease, diabetes or heart disease seem to be the most compromised.


The Flu

Seasonal Influenza (flu) is a respiratory infection that affects your throat, nose and lungs, and lasts for 5 to 7 days. Common symptoms include:


  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever or chills
  • Runny nose


How Does Coronavirus Compare With The Flu?

Unlike the flu, upper respiratory symptoms like sinus congestion and runny nose are very uncommon with COVID-19. However, seeing that most symptoms overlap, the best way to differentiate between the two is to look at your travel history and rate of exposure.

Bear in mind that antibiotics do not work against viral infections. It’s important to monitor your health, eat healthy meals as you let the infection run its course.

Regardless of exposure or lack of it, look out for shortness of breath as it is an indicator of pneumonia, the flu or a serious case of COVID-19 infection. Consult a doctor if you have been exposed to COVID-19, have a child with flu-like symptoms.

Please remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water, maintain social distancing, and engage in some indoor activities with your children.  

This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for a Doctor’s advice. Consult a doctor before making any medical decision and keep yourself up to date with COVID-19 updates from WHO.

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