Flu or COVID-19? Reliable diagnosis only by laboratory test.


A persistent cough, slightly raised temperature, runny nose – is it a cold, already the flu or even COVID-19? It is not so easy to find out.

Anyone who coughs and sniffs these days is often worried that they have been infected with the corona virus SARS-CoV-2. However, such symptoms also occur with other diseases. Whether a COVID-19 disease or possibly influenza is behind the symptoms is not so easy to determine.

With the fall comes the cold, wet days – for many people associated with colds and flu-like infections, which can have various triggers. However, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), influenza viruses that cause the flu also circulate between the beginning of October and mid-May. This year, the Corona pandemic will be added.

Clear diagnosis not easy

A clear diagnosis of which infection is present in an individual case is not easy for those affected or for medical professionals. The symptoms are too similar: In its “Corona profile”, the RKI lists coughing (in 45 percent of the cases recorded) and fever (38 percent) as the most common signs of COVID-19. In addition, many patients also report a cold (20 percent) and loss of the sense of smell and taste (15 percent).

On behalf of pharmacies, the health portal “aponet.de” has compared which symptoms are particularly common in COVID-19 and which in influenza. Typical for both diseases are therefore sudden coughs and fevers as well as general weakness. Throat, headaches, aching limbs and runny noses were reported significantly more frequently in flu patients, while loss of smell and taste were more common in corona sufferers. Ultimately, however, there can only be absolute certainty about the trigger of such complaints through a laboratory test.

According to the pharmacists, however, “banal colds” are easier to distinguish from these two diseases. Their typical symptoms such as sore throat, rhinitis, fatigue and headaches usually occur gradually over several days. One feels ill, but not as completely powerless as with a real flu.

The proportion of very severe courses is significantly higher in corona patients than in those suffering from flu. This is the result of a recent RKI study. On average, COVID-19 patients stayed longer in hospital and more often and longer in intensive care. 22 percent of COVID-19 patients, but only 14 percent of flu patients had to be connected to ventilators. (ad; source: dpa)

Similar symptoms: Flu or Corona?
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.


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