x

Health

How Do I Know if I Have a Cold, the Flu or COVID-19?

January 7, 2022

Experts say testing is the best way to determine what you have since symptoms of the illnesses can overlap.

The viruses that cause colds, the flu and COVID-19 are spread the same way — through droplets from the nose and mouth of infected people. And they can all be spread before a person realizes they’re infected.

The time varies for when someone with any of the illnesses will start feeling sick. Some people infected with the coronavirus don’t experience any symptoms, but it’s still possible for them to spread it.

Cough, fever, tiredness and muscle aches are common to both the flu and COVID-19, says Kristen Coleman, as assistant research professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Symptoms specific to COVID-19 include the loss of taste or smell.

Common colds, meanwhile, tend to be milder with symptoms including a stuffy nose and sore throat. Fevers are more common with the flu.

Despite some false portrayals online, the viruses have not merged to create a new illness. But it’s possible to get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which some are calling “flurona.”

“A co-infection of any kind can be severe or worsen your symptoms altogether,” says Coleman. “If influenza cases continue to rise, we can expect to see more of these types of viral co-infections in the coming weeks or months.”

With many similar symptoms caused by the three virus types, testing remains the best option to determine which one you may have. At-home tests for flu aren’t as widely available as those for COVID-19, but some pharmacies offer testing for both viruses at the same time, Coleman notes. This can help doctors prescribe the right treatment.

Laboratories might also be able to screen samples for various respiratory viruses, including common cold viruses. But most do not have the capacity to routinely do this, especially during a COVID-19 surge, Coleman says.

Getting vaccinated helps reduce the spread of the viruses. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is safe to get a flu and COVID-19 shot or booster at the same time.

RELATED

Usually on holidays I try to focus on having fun with my family and not to think about the house workload… but also continue to prepare meals that are as healthy as possible for the developing bodies of the little ones and supporting the health for the big ones! In Greece we now have ready to cook frozen foods – they have been arriving over the last ten years.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Mitsotakis at UN Calls on Turkey to Scale Down Rhetoric

UNITED NATIONS – The European Union's response to authoritarianism and a threat to democracy, Turkey's escalating aggression, and the threat of climate change were the focus of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' brief address to the 77th United Nations General Assembly on Friday night (Athens time).

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.