Influenza viruses and corona viruses are transmitted from person to person in a similar way, i.e. mainly by droplets that emerge from the nose and mouth – especially when someone coughs, sneezes or speaks. If another person inhales such droplets in the air, there is a possibility of infection. Infection is also possible by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Since COVID-19 is a new disease, there is hardly any immunity in the population, which is why SARS-CoV-2 is much more infectious than influenza viruses.
In addition to the available test methods, the present symptomatology also indicates which disease may underlie the symptoms. For besides a few similarities, there are also differences.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) today reported 6,638 new infections and 34 new deaths within 24 hours. The second wave of infections has thus reached Germany. For laypersons as well as medical personnel, the difference between a coronavirus infection and seasonal flu is difficult to recognize at first glance. However, there are specific unique selling points that indicate a coronavirus infection.
According to the infectiologist, common symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are
Some people with COVID-19 also develop other symptoms. “Patients with COVID-19 are more likely to have diarrhea or nausea and vomiting,” says Dr. Kristin Englund, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States. Similarly, changes in smell or taste and confusion are not uncommon with COVID-19. “COVID-19 seems to affect more organs in the body than the flu,” she said.
Transmission of the viruses
As Dr. Englund reports, there are also differences in the duration of the disease. “Usually, flu symptoms persist for four or five days – maybe even seven days,” says the doctor. However, COVID-19 disease lasts on average ten days, and even longer in severe cases.
Complications can occur with both diseases. Both influenza and COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissue. The risk of complications is higher in older people and in people with underlying diseases. According to Dr. Englund, there are additional complications with COVID-19. For example, it can lead to blood clots and multisystemic inflammation.
However, only a test can provide a reliable differentiation. The infectiologist strongly recommends that a physician be contacted if an infection is suspected. It does not matter whether it is influenza or COVID-19. (sb, vb)
“What we are seeing with COVID-19 are the so-called ‘superspreading events’, where an infected person goes to a meeting or party, but does not necessarily show symptoms – and still spreads the virus to many people around him,” says Dr Englund.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.