Emed Pain Management Blog

Emed Pain Management Blog

New coronavirus vs. flu

COVID-19 and the flu can cause similar symptoms. However, there are several differences between them.

The novel strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causes coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19).

Both COVID-19 and the flu are respiratory illnesses that spread from person to person. This article will discuss the differences between COVID-19 and the flu.

The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 have some differences.

People who have the flu will typically experience symptoms within 1–4 days. The symptoms for COVID-19 can develop between 1–14 days. However, according to 2020 research, the median incubation period for COVID-19 is 5.1 days.

As a point of comparison, the incubation period for a cold is 1–3 days.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in both children and adults. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children typically present with fever and mild, cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose and a cough.

The following table outlines the symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and a cold.

a inforgraphic showing the differences in symptoms between cold flu and coronavirus

The symptoms of COVID-19 and flu can range from mild to severe. Both can also cause pneumonia.

It is important to note that the World Health Organization (WHO) have classified mild symptoms of COVID-19 to mean that a person will not require hospitalization. The WHO classify mild cases to consist of symptoms including:

  • fever
  • cough
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • nasal congestion
  • sore throat
  • headache

According to the WHO, around 15% of COVID-19 cases are severe, and 5% are critical. Those in a critical state require a ventilator to breathe. The chance of severe and critical infection is higher with COVID-19 than the flu.

COVID-19 is also more deadly. According to the WHO, the mortality rate for COVID-19 appears to be higher than that of the flu.

Compared with the flu, research on COVID-19 is still in its early stages. These estimates may change over time.

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