woman sick blowing her nose flu covid-19 cold

Is it the Flu, COVID-19, or a Cold?

Recognizing Viral Diseases

Congestion, fever, aches, and pains — when the typical symptoms start, it can be hard to tell if you just have a cold or the flu. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are additional worries about contracting this highly contagious virus and spreading it to your friends and family.

If you become sick this season, here are some tips to help identify your symptoms and help guide you towards the right care.

Symptoms of the Common Cold

Unlike influenza or COVID-19, the common cold can be caused by hundreds, or even thousands, of different viruses. Luckily, common colds tend to be non-emergent, leaving you to get rest and recover at home.

Typical symptoms of a cold include:

  • Sneezing and coughing.
  • Stuffy and runny nose
  • Sore throat.
  • Coughing.

Fevers are not typically common in patients with a cold.

Symptoms of the Seasonal Flu

Influenza (the seasonal flu) is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to severe, but some of the most common signs of the seasonal flu include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • Stuffy or runny nose.
  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Muscle or body aches.
  • Vomiting.

Typically, flu symptoms subside after four to seven days. If symptoms last beyond this point, you may have a severe case of the flu and should seek treatment. The flu cannot be treated with antibiotics as with other infections, but your doctor can prescribe a treatment plan to help you feel better.

Flu-Like Symptoms After Vaccination

Some patients have also reported experiencing flu-like symptoms after getting vaccinated for either the flu or COVID-19. Typically, symptoms should subside within 24-48 hours.

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 (caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2) spreads through respiratory droplets and saliva. Symptoms can be moderate to severe just like the flu, with severe symptoms having lasting effects on a patient’s lungs and other important organs.

The most common signs of COVID-19 are similar to the flu and include:

  • Sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • Stuffy or runny nose.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Muscle aches.

Socially distancing and continuing to be mindful of the recommended health protocols such as mask wearing, getting vaccinated, and personal hygiene can help reduce your risk of contracting the virus.

Emergency Signs of Illness

The best treatment for these viral diseases is plenty of rest, fluids, and fever reducers if necessary. However, the following are signs you should seek emergency treatment as soon as possible:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Constant pain or pressure in your chest.
  • Blue-ish lips or face.
  • New loss of taste or smell.

If you or a loved one believes they may be sick with COVID-19, contact our team at Pinnacle HealthCare today for testing and treatment options.