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How to distinguish coronavirus from SARS and influenza?

You wake up one morning feeling unwell. While in previous years you may have chalked up a sore throat or body aches to a common cold or flu, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds a new cause for concern to the disease. Especially since the symptoms of colds, flu, and coronavirus infection are largely the same. Therefore, it is so important to know not only the difference between influenza and SARS but also how to distinguish a cold from a coronavirus. So, how to find out if you have a common cold or a virus, we tell in this article.

What is the difference between the coronavirus, the flu, and the common cold?

Each of these diseases is caused by different viruses, but unfortunately, they can have similar symptoms. As different symptoms and different strains of Covid-19 emerge it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the coronavirus, the common cold, and the flu.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a strain of coronavirus.
Influenza (flu) is also a respiratory illness that attacks your lungs, but the flu is caused by a different type of virus, not the coronavirus.
The common cold is caused by many different viruses, but the most common is the rhinovirus. A cold only affects the upper respiratory tract (nose and throat), but not the lungs.

Coronavirus symptoms

Symptoms of coronavirus in humans can vary depending on its type (strain), form (mild or severe), and even the day of infection. The main symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • an increase in body temperature (most often the temperature with covid is 37-37.5 degrees);
  • new and continuous cough;
  • stuffy nose or runny nose;
  • feeling tired or exhausted;
  • sore throat;
  • headache;
  • loss or change in smell or taste;
  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea;
  • sneezing
  • hoarse voice;
  • chills;
  • shiver;
  • joint pain;
  • Pain in the eyes.

Symptoms of pneumonia in covid

Symptoms of covid pneumonia can be similar to those of initial COVID-19 infection. If any of these symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical attention as they may be signs of COVID-19 progressing to pneumonia.

Signs of pneumonia in covid include:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
  • confusion;
  • extreme fatigue;
  • cough;
  • heat;
  • chest pain or tightness;
  • bluish lips, skin, or nails (cyanosis).

Cold symptoms (SARS)

The symptoms of a cold and the flu are similar, but the symptoms of a cold are less pronounced. Also, SARS symptoms appear gradually, in contrast to the flu symptoms, which appear very quickly. Most adults recover from a cold in about 7 to 10 days, but symptoms can persist for up to three weeks.

Common cold symptoms include:

  • sneezing
  • muscle pain;
  • stuffy nose or runny nose;
  • sore throat.

Sometimes symptoms of a cold include:

  • headache;
  • cough;
  • elevated temperature;
  • pressure in ears and face.

Atypical cold symptoms:

  • diarrhea or vomiting;
  • dyspnea.

Coronavirus symptoms against colds

The Omicron variant has symptoms very similar to a cold. Symptoms such as headache, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, coughing or sneezing may be symptoms of the micron variant or the common cold.

Flu symptoms

Flu symptoms tend to come on very suddenly and make you feel too ill to do your normal activities. They usually last 5-7 days.

Common flu symptoms include:

  • the sudden high temperature of 38 degrees or higher;
  • aching body;
  • feeling tired or exhausted;
  • dry cough;
  • headache.

Sometimes flu symptoms include:

  • runny nose;
  • sore throat;
  • sleep difficulties;
  • loss of appetite;
  • diarrhea or abdominal pain.

Usually not a symptom of the flu:

  • sneezing.

Diagnosis of coronavirus COVID-19

If you feel unwell, especially if you have any of the common symptoms of covid, you should stay at home and get tested for coronavirus, even if you have been vaccinated. This is especially important if you notice any changes in your taste or sense of smell.

The main methods for diagnosing coronavirus include:

  • The PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) is a highly accurate method that allows you to find coronavirus RNA even with an asymptomatic course of the disease. If RNA is found, the person is infected. PCR tests are performed using a swab from the nose or oropharynx.
  • Antigenic test. Allows you to quickly find out whether the patient is sick or sick. Antibodies IgM and IgG are immune cells that are produced in the human body as a result of contact with the virus at the very beginning of the disease. For this diagnostic method, blood from a finger or from a vein is used.
  • Express text for coronavirus – this quick method allows you to identify proteins in the RNA of the coronavirus that the immune system responds to. It shows whether a person is infected at the time of taking a smear.

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