The difference in symptoms between the flu and COVID-19

Art: Luci Gutierrez/The New York Times

As the flu season approaches, some people, especially parents. They worry that they or their children are sick, and it may not be easy to know which disease they have – flu or COVID-19.

They are correct. Most of the symptoms of the two diseases are so similar. They cannot determine by one test or two or three tests. But there are some clues. It is possible to be infected with both at the same time. Some patients were found to be infected with both in China this year.

What’s the difference?

At least 100 types of viruses can cause the common cold, but only 4 types cause seasonal flu.

Many people with colds think they have the flu, but experts have been saying the same thing:

“The flu makes you feel as if you were hit by a truck.”

Fever, pain, and headaches in severe cases of influenza are usually more severe than those of respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus or other common cold viruses.

Everyone knows the symptoms of flu: fever, headache, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing-in babies, ear infections. Some victims, especially children, also have diarrhea or vomiting.

In some cases, the most common complication is pneumonia. The classic symptom of flu pneumonia is shortness of breath. Especially when you are tired, breathing abnormally fast. Doctors usually look for this symptom in children, sometimes causing chest or back pain.

Identify COVID-19 through flu-like and weird symptoms

Knowing if you have COVID-19 is much more complicated because there are many different symptoms, sometimes even weird symptoms, many of which echo the symptoms of flu.

The most common symptoms are high fever, sometimes accompanied by chills, dry cough and fatigue.

One sign that really distinguishes the two infections is that many COVID-19 victims suddenly lose their sense of smell-not because their noses are stuffy. However, because they don’t even have a strong smell, such as onions or coffee. Not all virus victims suffer from anosmia, which is the official name for anosmia. However, a study found that 87% of people have the disease.

Less common symptoms include sore throat, congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and feeling of breathlessness when tired. Some victims have red or itchy eyes, while others have red or blistered fingers or toes-so-called COVID toes, similar to ice skates.

More dangerous symptoms

You should seek immediate medical attention, include severe breathing difficulties; chest pain or pressure; blue lips or blue face; confused or inconsistent answers to simple questions; collapse or loss of consciousness.

The frightening nature of this disease is that it can cause blood clots, leading to heart damage, brain damage and lung damage. Even some mild or asymptomatic cases can produce signs that doctors believe this may be long-term heart damage.

Another unusual aspect of COVID is that people sometimes get pneumonia without realizing their illness. The doctor is not sure why. One theory is that the way the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed will not cause the accumulation of carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide will produce the feeling of “desperate air”.

Many doctors recommend buying a pulse oximeter, a fingertip device that can measure the oxygen content in the blood. Multiple readings below 92% should trigger a call to the doctor. The sooner pneumonia is detected, the better the effect.


COVID-19 symptoms in children are similar to adults

Adult holding hand of sick child in hospital bed

Photo: Freepik/lifeforstock

Children usually pass COVID-19 with little problem. At the youngest age, it considers less dangerous than the flu.

The signs of symptoms in children are the same as in adults. Although parents may notice this symptom when young people have runny noses, red eyes, and when they feel terrible and exhausted.

Dangerous symptoms include difficulty breathing, blue lips, confusion or inability to wake up, and severe abdominal pain or inability to hold any fluids. If there are any signs, it is important to get the child to see a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

In rare cases, children may develop multiple system inflammatory syndrome. That is thought to be caused by an over-immune response and may lead to shock and organ failure.

But the doctor emphasized that this kind of situation is rare. Parents should be aware that it is extremely unlikely that a sick child will have this disease.

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Can you tell the difference in symptoms between the flu and COVID-19?

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