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How to Spot the Differences Between Coronavirus and Flu

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, October 2, 2020

We’ve battled against the coronavirus, or Covid-19, from about March of this year until present. Now that we’re heading into what we normally call our “cold and flu season”, you might have new concerns. As our usual seasonal flu begins to circulate, many people are wondering how they would tell the difference between flu and Covid-19.

Both illnesses are caused by respiratory viruses and can spread in a similar manner. They also trigger similar symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, congestion, sore throat, and headache. Both illnesses can range from mild to severe, with severe cases more likely to impact people with other underlying conditions.

How do you know for sure? Since symptoms are so similar, the best way to know whether you have the flu or Covid-19 is to get tested. Call your physician to report symptoms, and he or she will instruct you on how to get safely tested for one or both illnesses. Many locations will be offering drive-through testing, so that patients don’t even have to get out of their cars.

Can you get both the flu and Covid-19? In case you’re wondering, yes, it is possible to contract flu and Covid-19 at the same time. Since they are two different viruses, you could be afflicted with both illnesses if you encounter them during the same time frame. The good news is that the measures we are all taking to lower Covid-19 transmission will also help with the flu.

If you experience any of the symptoms of flu or Covid-19, remember that you are highly likely to spread either illness to others. Coughing, sneezing, touching objects, and close physical contact help both respiratory viruses to spread in public places. It is best to quarantine at home while you’re experiencing symptoms and reduce contact even with those in your household. Ask a friend or relative to drop off any medications, food, or other items that you might need.

Stay in touch with your physician, and immediately report worsening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, high fever, or pain in the chest. While many people with flu or Covid recover just fine at home, a few do need more specialized care. New treatments and drugs are available for both Covid-19 and the flu, and your doctor can recommend the ones that are right for your situation. Communicating regularly can help you receive the right care in a timely fashion, for a faster recovery.

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