Do you know these similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19?
Bothe influenza (flu) and Coronavirus are contagious respiratory illnesses. Both are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by the influenza virus whereas COVID-19 is caused by a new Coronavirus also known as SARS-CoV-2.
Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19
Both coronavirus and flu have some major differences between flu and COVID-19. Coronavirus can spread more easily than the flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. It takes longer to show symptoms in people and can be contagious for a longer period.
Another main difference is that vaccines are accessible to protect against the flu. For, COVID-19, there is no vaccine available to prevent Coronavirus. The only way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 have similarities.
It is difficult to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Testing is required to help confirm a diagnosis. Influenza and COVID-19 have many characteristics, but there are some dissimilarities between the two. Read further to uncover more similarities and differences between flu and COVID-19.
Coronavirus vs Flu
Covid-10 and flu can have different signs and symptoms, from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Here are the common symptoms that both can share:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Body aches or muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Some people may have diarrhea and vomiting, it is more common in children than adults.
For both viruses, it is possible to spread the virus for at least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms.
Both COVID-19 and influenza virus can spread from person-to-person, are transmitted by contact, fomites, and droplets.
Both viruses can result in serious illness and complications. Particularly for
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- People who have other medical conditions
Both COVID-19 and flu can cause complications, such as:
- Respiratory failure
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs)
- organ failures including respiratory failure, kidney failure, and shock
- chronic medical conditions that include the lungs, nervous system, heart, or diabetes
- Inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues
- Heart attacks and stroke
Differences between COVID-19 and Flu Influenza
|The flu virus can affect mild to a serious illness that includes common signs and symptoms which are listed above.
|Coronavirus can cause more severe illness in some people. There are some signs and symptoms of COVID-19 that are different from the flu. The difference may include a change in the loss of taste or smell.
|Characteristically, a person can develop symptoms anywhere from 1 – 4 days after infection.
|A person can develop symptoms 5 days after being infected. But the time range can vary.
|People with the flu are transmittable for at least 1 day before they show symptoms.
|How long people can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 is still under investigation.
|The flu virus spreads in a similar way as COVID-19.
|It is possible for people to spread it for about 2 days before they experience symptoms.
|Children are more vulnerable to the flu virus.
|But Coronavirus is more infectious among certain populations and age groups than flu.
|People who are infected with the flu will recover in a few days or less than 2 weeks. Some people may have medical complications that are listed above
|School going children infected with COVID-19 are susceptible and can have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which is an uncommon but serious complication of COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can face the complications of blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, legs, heart, or brain.
|Prescription influenza antiviral drugs are approved by the FDA to treat flu.
|The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created guidance on the treatment of the COVID-19 external icon, which will be updated daily.