With the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the globe, people have been asking a lot of very important questions about the disease, as well as some ridiculous ones. But perhaps the biggest thing people want to know is the difference in symptoms between coronavirus, a common cold and the flu, as well as how vaccines factor into it given how GPs are urging us to get flu vaccinations earlier than usual.
Since this is a very important thing for people to know, we’re going to try and explain the symptoms of coronavirus, a common cold, and the flu for everyone.
Since we’re all in iso due to the coronavirus, the GOAT team talk about the importance of staying connected during these tough times on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:
The biggest source of confusion when it comes to coronavirus, common cold and flu symptoms is the sheer amount of overlap. Based on what we know about the common cold and flu, and our growing knowledge of the coronavirus, all three diseases can bring on a similar set of symptoms that includes fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, headaches, and/or a runny/stuffy nose.
So yeah, easy to see how people can get confused.
But there are a number of subtle differences in symptoms between the three. The most notable one is shortness of breath, which is a common symptom for coronavirus while being virtually non-existent in the common cold and flu. The same goes for sneezing, which is a thing for common colds but definitely not a thing for coronavirus and the flu.
One notable coronavirus symptom that’s been reported has been the loss of smell and taste, though this can also surface when you have a very bad cold and/or allergies.
The speed of how coronavirus spreads and the severity of the symptoms also differs compared to a common cold and flu. While the incubation period for coronavirus is about 14 days, the common cold and flu has a far shorter time frame, meaning it spreads much faster.
However, the severity of coronavirus symptoms is higher than that of the common cold and flu, and the number of reported serious and critical coronavirus cases exceed what we typically see from flu cases.
As for vaccines, definitely still get flu shots to protect yourself. However, don’t expect the flu vaccine to do anything for the coronavirus as they’re two different types of viruses. Having said that, scientists are working hard on a coronavirus vaccine and hopefully it’ll arrive sooner rather than later.
So what’s the best way to figure out whether you’ve got coronavirus, the common cold, or the flu? The only solid answer now is to get tested, but due to a shortage of testing kits, you can only get a test if you meet certain criteria.
In the meantime, stay updated on what’s going on with the coronavirus, stay isolated at home so we can continue to flatten the curve, follow responsible social distancing if you have to leave the house for something, and always remember to wash your hands frequently.
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