It is a question on the mind of many as fall is on the horizon. How do I know if I have the flu or if it is COVID-19? How can I best protect myself? Can an urgent care center in Palm Springs help?
COVID versus Influenza
Both COVID-19 and Influenza are respiratory viruses. Both illnesses are highly contagious, but different viruses cause them.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is caused by a severe strain of the coronavirus family (SARS-CoV-2). Influenza is caused by infection with influenza viruses.
Symptoms between the two illnesses are similar, so it may be difficult to tell the difference if you are ill. Though testing is the determining factor, there are some differences between the two viruses.
Similarities Between COVID-19 and Influenza
Both influenza and COVID-19 can cause one or more of the following symptoms. It is essential to keep in mind symptoms can range. You may have many or even none at all:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
With both illnesses, you can spread the virus a day before you have any symptoms.
What are the differences between COVID-19 and influenza?
If you have influenza, you likely will have many of the above symptoms listed. Illness can range from mild to severe.
COVID-19 symptoms also range, but it will usually take longer before you show signs of illness. With influenza, symptoms are typically felt within one to four days of exposure.
COVID-19 is common not to have symptoms for five days or more. It is important to know that some people will have symptoms as early as two days, and some not for up to 14 days after being infected.
Another common determining factor is a loss of taste and sense of smell. Sensory loss is not a common symptom of influenza but is seen in patients with COVID-19.
Additionally, COVID-19 is contagious for an extended period. The amount of time can expose others who have COVID-19 is still under investigation, but likely about ten days from when signs and symptoms appeared.
How can I protect myself against COVID-19?
It is best to implement best practice advice provided by the CDC and medical professionals to protect yourself against both viruses. Practices include:
- Frequent hand washing for 20 seconds
- Regular use of hand sanitizer
- Social distancing of 6 feet
- Masks when in public
- Properly cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces
- Get the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as possible
How Urgent Care of the Palm Beaches Can Help You
Our urgent care offers in-person and virtual urgent care in South Florida. Locations for service include:
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.