How do I know if I have flu or Covid?

The flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, but some of the symptoms are similar, which can make it difficult to determine which illness you have. Here are some of the similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19:

Similarities between flu and COVID-19:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children with flu than COVID-19)

Differences between flu and COVID-19:

The following characteristics differentiate COVID-19 from flu.

  • COVID-19 and the flu are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses.
  • COVID symptoms can appear 2 to 14 days after infection whereas symptoms of flu show up about 1 to 4 days after being exposed to a sick person.
  • COVID-19 appears to be contagious for a longer time and to spread more quickly than the flu.
  • With COVID-19, you may be more likely to experience loss of taste or smell.
  • Severe illness is more frequent with COVID-19 than with the flu. Compared with historical flu cases, COVID-19 may cause more hospital stays and death for people age 18 and older, even those who have no other health challenges.
  • COVID-19 can cause more severe and long-lasting symptoms than the flu
  • COVID-19 can cause blood clotting and other serious complications that are not common with the flu
  • The onset of symptoms can be different, with COVID-19 symptoms appearing more gradually than flu symptoms

If you suspect that you have either the flu or COVID-19, it’s important to seek medical attention and get tested for the virus. This will help determine the appropriate course of treatment and prevent the spread of the virus to others. If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, seek medical attention immediately.