How to Tell If You Have Coronavirus, Flu, or a Common Cold

Flu vs. coronavirus: What's the difference

Symptoms associated with the 2019-nCoV or new coronavirus, at first glance, are nearly identical to those of flu and the common cold.

Common coronavirus symptoms are as follows.

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Aching muscles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

Less usual coronavirus symptoms are listed below.

  • Headache
  • Phlegm buildup
  • Diarrhea
  • Hemoptysis

Atypical symptoms for coronavirus are as follows.

  • Sore throat
  • Runny throat

A sore throat and a runny nose are standard symptoms of infection in the upper respiratory tract (URT). Hence, if you are sniffling or sneezing for some time now, you are likely to have a common cold or the flu.

On the contrary, the 2019-nCoV typically affects the lower part of your lower respiratory tract (LRT), most of the infected individuals have pneumonia, shortness of breath, or dry cough, though never a sore throat.

Many of the coronavirus patients do not even exhibit symptoms in the initial days of the disease manifestation.

As per the information provided by the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA, the 2019-nCoV has two to fourteen days of incubation period.

Cold or flu?

When reviewing the symptoms of a patient, even qualified doctors with years of experience face difficulty in determining if a particular patient is having a common cold attack or an influenza infection.

Most people are to have a scratchy throat, which is succeeded by a runny nose prior to developing a cough. They can persist for days along with headache and fever, making people feel exhausted and fatigued.

On the contrary, with a flu attack, your limbs and head are to ache, the voice will become hoarse, you are to have a dry cough, painful throat aches will occur, and you will also be developing a high temperature, typically up to forty-one degrees Celsius, that is, one hundred and five degrees Fahrenheit, along with chills. You will feel weak, do not want to leave your bed, your appetite will reduce, and you will remain sleepy for several hours throughout the days.

Most of the symptoms associated with a common cold usually mitigate within the first few days of infection and do not take more than a week to disappear. However, the flu happens to be increasingly tedious, keeping one bedridden for a minimum of seven days and on certain occasions, even needing many weeks until the patient starts to feel healthy as before.

When should you have antibiotics prescribed?

As viruses are accountable for most of the colds and flu cases, antibiotics are pretty much useless, so to speak.

When to seek care?

If you are not sure whether or not you have coronavirus, flu, or cold, you are highly recommended to visit a physician through advanced telemedicine services, which are exclusively available on the PatientMD platform. Visit now to learn more and schedule your video-consult today. You are expected to undergo a phlegm sample examination for validating or falsifying the presence of respiratory viruses. Do remember to browse the PatientMD Marketplace for receiving the latest information about various healthcare deals and discounts, such as clinical laboratory works, pathological tests, physical examinations, and more.

DISCLAIMER: The information and advice provided in this blog do not intend to test or suffice the judgment or consultation of a physician. As they are exclusively meant for educational purposes, please always discuss with your practitioner prior to utilizing any advice and information available here or included in other educational clinical materials accessible on this platform.