Do you have a cold, the flu, or coronavirus?

Sep 24 2020, 7:43 pm

We’re heading into flu season and you may be wondering how to differentiate between a cold, flu, and coronavirus.

We know that coronavirus is at least 10 times more deadly than the average annual flu outbreak, but is there a way to know what you’ve caught without getting tested?

Here are some ways you can differentiate between the three, according to the Snohomish Health District.

Regardless of if you’ve got a cold, the flu, or coronavirus, you may be coughing, have a sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, have difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle pain or body aches, vomiting, or have diarrhea.

If you notice fever or chills and headaches, you can rule out a cold. If you’re experiencing a new loss of taste or smell, you should probably isolate or get tested for coronavirus.

Complications of a cold range from sinus and ear infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia, as well as strep throat and asthma attacks. With the flu, you may experience the former as well as pneumonia, respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis, heart attacks, stroke, multiple organ failure, worsening of chronic medical conditions, inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues, and secondary bacterial infections. If you have coronavirus, you may experience all of these complications, as well as blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain, as well as multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.

All three are most commonly spread person-to-person by droplets that leave your mouth and nose while coughing, sneezing, or talking. Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of those nearby, as well as land on surfaces that people touch.

There are currently no vaccines for the common cold and coronavirus, although flu vaccines are available annually.

If you’re experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, it’s best to get tested or isolate for two weeks or more. Visit a free coronavirus test site or call your local health provider for more information about testing.

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Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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