Flu, cold or corona? How to recognize the difference!

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Anyone who is currently coughing or sneezing might also be wondering if COVID-19 could be behind it. In addition to the available test methods, the present symptomatology also indicates which disease may be the cause of the symptoms. Because besides a few similarities, there are also differences, as the infectiologist explains.

Dr. Kristin Englund is a specialist in infectious diseases at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the USA. In a recent article at the clinic, the expert explains the differences in the symptoms of influenza and COVID-19.

The symptoms of influenza are very similar to the symptoms of corona infection. In fact, it is not easy to tell the difference. In order to ensure that the therapy and diagnosis go in the right direction right from the start, the differences should be known.

Similarities of influenza and COVID-19
Differences between influenza and COVID-19

According to Dr. Englund, influenza viruses and corona viruses are transmitted from person to person in a similar way, i.e. mainly through droplets that emerge from the nose and mouth – especially when someone coughs, sneezes or talks. 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.

What diseases are behind cold symptoms?

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 prone to diarrhea or nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Englund notes. Likewise, 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,” the specialist said.

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,” she says. However, COVID-19 disease lasts on average ten days, and even longer in severe cases.

However, only a test can provide a reliable differentiation. The infectiologist urgently recommends that a physician be contacted if an infection is suspected. It does not matter whether it is influenza or COVID-19. (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.

Complications can arise in both cases. 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.

WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.

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