COVID-19 vs. a Cold or Flu: How to Tell the Differences

COVID-19 vs. a Cold or Flu: How to Tell the Differences

You’ve been felled by a bug, but how do you know if it’s just a cold, the annual flu, or COVID-19? Knowing the main differences between the three conditions can go a long way toward clarifying your condition.

The ear, nose, and throat specialists at ENT of New Orleans, with offices in Chalmette, Harvey, New Orleans, and Marrero, Louisiana, can test you for COVID-19 if you’re suffering symptoms of a respiratory infection.

COVID-19 symptoms to watch for

The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that not all people have the same symptoms, and many people are asymptomatic when they have COVID-19. The most common symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus include:

Also on the list is loss of your senses of taste and smell, which may occur without any other symptoms. And while you can have COVID-19 and experience phlegm, headaches, body aches, nasal congestion, weepy eyes, or stomach issues, if you don’t have any of the above symptoms as well, you’re more likely to be suffering from the annual flu or the common cold. 

Annual flu symptoms to watch for

Flu symptoms are the most similar to common COVID-19 symptoms, and can include:

Obviously, the main COVID-19 symptom missing from the list is a dry cough. If you have multiple flu symptoms, especially if the flu seems to be more vicious than you usually get, or if you had your flu shot and got sick anyway, it’s not a bad idea to be tested for COVID-19.

Common cold symptoms to watch for

You can also worry about COVID-19 if you have many common cold symptoms. These are often milder than flu symptoms, but they could also be a sign of a mild case of COVID-19:

If you start having shortness of breath, your cold may have developed into something more serious, like a respiratory infection, which can in turn make you more vulnerable to COVID-19.

If you’re worried you have COVID-19, follow the latest guidance from the CDC. If you have fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath, ask for an urgent appointment to be tested. Wear a mask, social distance, and let us know if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have been traveling. 

Think you may have COVID-19 or a respiratory infection? Schedule a consultation with the team at ENT of New Orleans by calling the location closest to you or requesting an appointment online.

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