Difference Between the Flu & COVID-19

Difference Between the Flu & COVID-19

Haley Pierce , Editor

Flu season is approaching quickly as the world is in the middle of a pandemic, there are many concerns with how we know whether our symptoms are COVID-19 like symptoms or flu like symptoms.


According to cdc.gov, the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a new coronavirus. The flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. COVID-19 is known to cause a more severe disease than the seasonal influenza.


There are some key differences between the flu and COVID-19, as COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than the flu and also caused more serious illnesses in some people.


People can take longer to develop symptoms and can be contagious for longer with COVID-19. Another important difference is that there is a vaccine to protect against the flu as there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.


The best way to prevent the infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. With the flu most people are contagious for about one day before they show symptoms. It is possible for someone to spread COVID-19 within two days before experiencing signs but they can also remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms. The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for the flu compared to COVID-19. Older adults and people with medical conditions are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19.


One last difference is the complications. Most people who get the flu will recover within a few days to less than two weeks as people who get COVID-19 could have blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart, legs or brain.


There are just as many similarities between COIVD-19 and the flu as there are differences. Both the flu and COIVD-19 have varying degrees of signs and symptoms ranging from no symptoms (asymptomactic) to severe symptoms that include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, and muscle pains or body aches. Both viruses can spread from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with each other, to the little droplets that are made when people cough or sneeze and you have the virus. It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical human contact or by touching a surface or object that has a virus. Both viruses can be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms.


People at high risk for complications or who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 or the flu should receive supportive medical care to help relieve symptoms and complications.


The best way to prevent yourself from getting the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. Limit your interactions with other people as much as possible and take extra precautions to prevent yourself from getting COVID-19. If you start feeling sick and think you may have COIVD-19 or the flu, get in touch with your health care provider within 24 hours.