Similarities & Differences Between The Flu & Covid-19

The common flu (Influenza) and Covid-19 are both very contagious respiratory illnesses, caused by a completely different virus. Because some of the symptoms of the flu and Covid-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, in some cases testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. However, The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined some of the key differences you can look for when determining if you have been infected with influenza or Covid-19 during this upcoming flu season. Below we have summarized some of the most important similarities and differences you should be aware of, you can also click here to read the entire article on the CDC’s website.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Similarities: Both Covid-19 and the flu can have varying symptoms from person to person, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of both Covid-19 and flu include:
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue, headache and body aches
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Differences: The primary symptom you may show if you have been infected with Covid-19 is a loss of taste or smell. This symptom does not appear with the common flu, if you are displaying this symptom contact your medical provider immediately!

How Long Can Someone Spread The Virus 

  • Similarities: For both Covid-19 and flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms.
  • Differences: If a person has Covid-19, they may be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had the flu. With the flu, most people will only remain contagious for 3-4 days of their illness. However, with Covid-19 it’s possible to remain contagious for at least 10 days.

How The Disease Spreads

  • Similarities: Both Covid-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person contact between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
    • Both diseases spread mainly by droplets made when people with the illness cough, sneeze or talk. By utilizing masks or physical barriers you can limit the potential of spreading either disease.
    • It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical contact (shaking hands) or by touching a surface or object that has either virus on it, and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. Utilize disinfectant cleaner or wipes on commonly used surfaces multiple times a day!
  • Differences: While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

Approved Treatments & Vaccinations

  • Similarities: It’s important for individuals that have a high risk of complications to seek supportive medical care to help relieve symptoms or complications.
  • Differences: 
    • Covid-19: While antiviral treatments are being explored there are currently no drugs or therapeutics approved by the FDA to treat Covid-19 at this time. Researchers and manufacturers are also expediting the development of a vaccine to prevent Covid-19, but at this time there is no approved vaccination.
    • Flu: The public has access to prescription influenza antiviral drugs that are FDA-approved to treat flu. People who are hospitalized with flu are recommended to be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible. There are also multiple FDA-licensed influenza vaccines produced annually to protect against the 3-4 flu viruses that scientists anticipate will circulate each year.

It’s more important than ever this flu season to practice safe hygienic practices! As always, SeparationScreen is continuing to offer infection control supplies designed to not only help protect you from Covid-19 but from cold and flu season as well! We currently have face masks, adult and pediatric face shieldsnon-contact thermometers, hand sanitizerdisinfectant cleaners and our complete line of acrylic cough guards in stock and ready to ship!

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