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How to determine the difference between Covid-19, influenza, respiratory viruses, and the common cold


How to determine the difference between Covid-19, influenza, respiratory viruses, and the common cold

As the festive season approaches and the brutal cold sets in, some people may find themselves feeling less than cheerful, with coughs, headaches, and runny noses.

Winter bugs are all too prevalent, but is it Covid-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the flu, or a typical cold?

All four illnesses have symptoms that are similar, such as a headache, sore throat, or a runny nose; however, there are a few major warning signals to look out for that may indicate what you are suffering from.

Loss of taste and smell is a classic red sign of coronavirus infection, however, some research shows it is becoming less common with the now-dominant BA.5 coronavirus type. The most straightforward way to verify whether you have the virus is to undergo a quick lateral flow test, which is no longer free for the bulk of the population but can be purchased at pharmacies and drugstores.

According to health professionals, sneezing is a sign of a cold rather than the flu or Covid-19. High fever, a fresh and persistent cough, a clogged or runny nose, tiredness or fatigue, a sore throat, a headache, an aching body, feeling breathless, lack appetite, diarrhea, feeling ill, or being sick are the most frequent Covid-19 symptoms.

Sneezing, a hoarse voice, chills, shivering, joint pain, and painful eyes are some of the less frequent symptoms.

Meanwhile, flu symptoms might include a sudden high fever, hurting body, tiredness or fatigue, a dry cough, a sore throat, a headache, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, diarrhea or tummy discomfort, and feeling and being ill.

Colds are often seen as a milder prelude to the flu, resulting in blocked nostrils, sore throats, headaches, muscular pains, coughing, sneezing, a fever, and pressure in your ears and cheeks. These diseases are normally treatable at home with bed rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Finally, RSV is an airborne respiratory virus that normally produces mild, cold-like symptoms but can develop into bronchiolitis and pneumonia in severe cases. It has been on the rise in the UK, with over 30,000 newborns and children under the age of five hospitalized each year. Most RSV infections resolve on their own within a week or two, although older people and children under the age of six months may require treatment.

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