Coronavirus vs Flu

Coronavirus vs Flu

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of uncertainty — putting in jeopardy celebrations, local events, and jobs all over the world. And, while most people have adjusted as best they can by working from home, finding alternative work, and having the kids go to school virtually, there are other aspects of life that are a little bit trickier to figure out. Such is the case with experiencing symptoms of illness. In what feels like another lifetime would’ve probably been brushed off as the common cold or nursed as the seasonal flu, now brings worries about whether you’ve been infected with coronavirus. How can you tell the difference? When should you go to the doctor? And, how can you nurse yourself back to health?

Similarities Between the Flu and COVID-19

The reason why both of these conditions are so often mistaken for each other is because they have several things in common. They’re both highly contagious respiratory illnesses that result in the same symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Body aches

Some individuals may also experience nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea — especially children. If you’re experiencing some or all of the above, you may be panicking about the state of your health and wondering if you should get tested for COVID-19.

Exclusive Symptoms of the Flu

The flu has a shorter incubation period than COVID-19. While coronavirus symptoms — if they appear at all — may take up to 14 days to show up, if you’ve been exposed to the flu, you’ll begin experiencing symptoms within three days. If the flu strain is severe, it may cause you to develop a sinus or ear infection.

In addition, the onset of flu symptoms occurs more suddenly, with a person first experiencing body aches and fever, and soon after, the rest of the signs of illness. This is in contrast to COVID-19, which may present a slower onset of symptoms.

Exclusive Symptoms of COVID-19

Something that makes it harder to detect COVID-19 is that, unlike the flu, it is possible to be infected with the virus and not experience any symptoms at all. While this may sound like good news, it’s also problematic, since an asymptomatic person can still spread the virus to others.

Something else that differentiates COVID-19 from influenza is that some patients with coronavirus lose their sense of taste and smell. Some individuals only experience these symptoms, which is why they end up getting tested for COVID-19 without even considering that they are suffering from the flu.

When to Go to the Doctor if You’re Experiencing Symptoms of Coronavirus

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 80% of COVID-19 infections are mild or present no symptoms. However, 15% of patients do experience a severe infection, and 5% require ventilators to assist them with breathing. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor symptoms — especially if you’re pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or are 65 years of age or older.

Specifically, always seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms. These may include any of the following:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Fever above 104F
  • Confusion
  • Bluish lips and/or face
  • Symptoms worsen over time

Prior to going to the doctor, call ahead. Giving them prior notice will allow your healthcare provider to prepare for your arrival by ensuring that their staff and other patients are protected from contagion.

If You’re Not Feeling Well, Nurse Practitioners of Florida Can Help

At Nurse Practitioners of Florida, we have a dedicated team of certified nurse practitioners who have an unwavering commitment to providing you with care and compassion. When you call any of our locations, you will be greeted by a live person who’s ready to offer acute medical care as well as preventive measures — including testing for COVID-19. And, above everything else, you will be treated like family.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness, call us at (727) 290-6116 or fill out our online contact form.