COVID-19 vs. Flu vs. Cold—Which Is It?

As expected during the pandemic, every cough, sneeze, or throat tickle may give you cause for concern. Many symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and COVID-19 are similar—making it difficult to distinguish between them. Different viruses cause each of these illnesses, which means there are different symptoms.

COVID-19: The most common three symptoms to keep in mind are fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath.

Flu: If you feel fine one day and miserable the next, it may be the flu. Common symptoms include cough, fatigue, fever or chills, headaches, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Common cold: Most importantly, you won’t have a fever with a cold. Typically, symptoms of the common cold come on gradually and may start with a sore throat or irritated sinuses.

One key difference between the illnesses is a symptom of COVID-19—shortness of breath. If you are concerned about your symptoms, call your doctor. The only way to confirm your illness is to get tested.



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