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Is it coronavirus or flu? What is the difference between the two


The coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has become a global pandemic. With more than 92,000 infections and an abrupt mortality rate that has now crossed the 3,000 mark, people rush to stay protected. Despite how big and scary a viral infection is, there are also many myths, misconceptions that surround it and that confuse people. One of the main ones is: is it the flu or the coronavirus?

The most striking feature of the rapidly increasing coronavirus infection is that the symptoms of the disease begin with a cold, cough and high fever, which are very similar to a flu infection. Therefore, in the midst of the information that induces panic and WhatsApp forward, it can be difficult to know if you have a flu or a coronavirus infection.

They are similar?

To begin with, both COVID-19 and the flu are virus-borne infections and are transmitted primarily through person-to-person contact, usually through respiratory droplets, cough and phlegm. According to the WHO, COVID-19 and the flu are contagious viruses that cause respiratory diseases and cause symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, chest congestion, increased temperature and, if difficult to contain, lead to pneumonia.

The difference

Although the coronavirus and influenza virus show similar symptoms, they belong to different virus families. COVID-19, discovered in 2019, is a new coronavirus, which had not previously been seen in humans. Compared to this, the flu, caused by the influenza virus, was identified a long time ago. The researchers also say that the coronavirus is spreading and travels faster than influenza and similar viruses.

Flu symptoms are more intense than those associated with a cold and usually appear suddenly, including fever over 100.5 degrees, extreme exhaustion, severe muscle or body aches, dry cough and chills.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between an early case of coronavirus, a severe cold or the flu. Only tests can identify if it is coronavirus or the common flu. However, what really makes a difference is the time it takes for symptoms to appear in cases. Although cold and flu viruses take 2 to 3 days to develop once the virus is contracted, coronavirus symptoms take 2 to 14 days after being exposed to the virus, according to the Control and Prevention Centers of Diseases (CDC).

Which carries the greatest threat?

While doctors, scientists and researchers are still studying the new coronavirus, influenza is still one of the biggest health risks in the world. There is also a big difference when it comes to your treatment. While flu vaccines are available and medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) are available to reduce risk and complications, there is still no treatment, cure or vaccine in sight for COVID-19. Several companies and health agencies are testing ways to attack the virus and it will take a minimum of one year before we have the first vaccine available. The only prevention is still to quarantine, evaluate and practice good hygiene practices to reduce the risk of spreading infections.

Times of India