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Marc Ravenscroft: Understanding the Differences Between COVID-19 and the Seasonal Flu

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(Gloucestercitynews.net)(Nov. 7, 2020)--There are many similarities between the flu and coronavirus symptoms. It can be easy for anyone to mistake one for the other. If it is the flu, you should treat symptoms as one normally would with the flu – rest, get lots of fluids, and call the doctor if you experience more severe symptoms. However, in a case of infection by COVID-19, you need to self-quarantine and/or visit a COVID-19 facility for proper treatment. Because of the similarities between the two ailments, it is necessary to understand what specific signals to look for that will help you distinguish between the two possibilities.

An overview of flu and COVID-19 symptoms by Marc Mitchell Ravenscroft

How is COVID-19 similar to the flu?

Influenza and COVID-19 are both caused by viruses. One major difference between the two ailments is that there is a flu vaccine developed yearly to protect against new strains of influenza. There is no widely used vaccine yet that has been developed for COVID-19. The primary source of spread is droplets released from the body. When an infected person coughs, speaks, or sneezes, the respiratory droplets released from the mouth can infect others around them. Although these germs can also live on surfaces, there is still not enough evidence that proves the spread of the flu or COVID-19 from touching surfaces alone.

COVID-19 and flu symptoms

Both these ailments have specific symptoms, with some overlap, and some differences. Marc Ravenscroft advises you learn the differences in order to understand each ailment. For example, if you contract the flu, symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, body aches, and a runny nose. These symptoms usually manifest within two days of infection. The flu can be transmitted to others, both before, and after, the onset of symptoms. 

You might have COVID-19 if you experience fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, a dry cough, or a loss of taste and/or smell. It can take two to fourteen days to develop symptoms after contracting the virus. Some do not experience any symptoms at all while still acting as a carrier for the virus. Experts refer to these patients as asymptomatic. Such patients can also be super spreaders of the virus.

At the onset of any symptoms, you should contact your primary care physician for guidance. Your doctor can advise you on whether you should: stay home and self-isolate, go to the emergency room, or find a testing center to determine if you have contracted the virus.

While it can feel like a challenge to identify whether you are experiencing the flu or COVID-19, it is important to take it one step at a time – don’t assume the worst. Knowledge of both infections can spare you from any unnecessary anxiety or troubles. Get tested if you are worried you may be positive for COVID-19.

If you are worried about catching either the flu or COVID-19, you should maintain healthy habits to boost your immune system and protect yourself from viral infections. Exercise, eat healthy meals, get enough sleep, and allow yourself time to relax. During the pandemic, wear a face mask, maintain personal hygiene, and follow social distancing guidelines when you leave your home. 


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