How Can I Tell the Difference Between the Flu and COVID-19?

The flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, but they’re related to two totally different viruses. The flu is caused by an infection with influenza viruses, and COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville provides some helpful tips on how you can tell these illnesses apart.

How Are the Flu and COVID-19 Similar?

In addition to both viruses being respiratory illnesses, these viruses are transmitted by contact, droplets and fomites, which are objects that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes or furniture.

As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue), are important actions all can take to prevent infection. We’ve listed some other health-safety measures to observe below.

Important Health-Safety Precautions

  • Wear a mask in public.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay socially distant from others that don’t live in your home.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t readily available.

How Can I Tell COVID-19 and the Flu Apart?

The thing that makes it tricky to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu is the fact that both illnesses often show similar symptoms. To combat this, the best thing to do is to get tested when you begin to experience any of the below-mentioned symptoms. Getting tested for COVID-19 should take priority right now, since this virus is still the more contagious and detrimental of the two.

Another differentiating factor between the two illnesses is that COVID-19 symptoms generally take longer to show than flu symptoms. With the flu, symptoms typically come on hard and fast.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19 and the Flu

  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Frequent headaches

We are passionate about your health, so don’t hesitate to visit our team at AFC Urgent Care Knoxville if you have any questions or general medical concerns!