How To Know If You Have A Cold, Flu, or COVID-19

For many of us, one of the big fears is that we end up catching the coronavirus that’s been spreading around the world for the last two years. It’s not entirely a fear built around worrying about the effects of the virus on you, but more centered on what it means for your life. It’ll disrupt your schedule and mean you have to stay away from everyone until your symptoms go away.  

The problem is, all of the symptoms are very similar to those that you see in other common conditions – like the cold or flu. So, it’s easy to panic when you cough once or twice or feel a bit under the weather. Obviously, you want to ensure that you know what’s wrong with you before you start informing all your close contacts that they need to isolate.  It’s best to visit an urgent care center to get tested as soon as possible.  But if you are unable to do this, there are other ways to tell if you have COVID-19 or if it’s something less serious:

Check for key symptoms

Naturally, all three of these illnesses have a long list of very similar symptoms. For example, you are likely to have a sore throat, feel tired, and have a runny or stuffy nose with COVID, a cold, and the flu. However, there are a few key symptoms that can differentiate between coronavirus and the common cold. 

Primarily, you will have a dry cough when you have COVID. This means that you are coughing regularly and there is no phlegm coming up with it. With a cold, you are likely to have a mucus cough. Trust me, you will know the difference between the two when you start coughing. With a cold, you have a mucus cough as your body is trying to cough up mucus and get the cold out of your body. 

Another symptom of coronavirus is that you have a fever, which is highly rare when you just have a cold. Likewise, you’re unlikely to experience severe body aches and tiredness with a cold, so that’s another thing to look for. If you are suffering from all of these symptoms, along with a dry cough, there’s a good chance you have COVID. However, if you’re sneezing a lot, and don’t have a fever or a dry cough, the chances are you just have a cold. 

Get tested

Unfortunately, differentiating between the flu and COVID is a lot harder as they have pretty much all of the same symptoms. Therefore, the best way to know what you’ve got is by getting tested. You should do this anyway, and you can order kits to test yourself at home. Alternatively, visit an urgent care center and they can provide you with a PCR test to get the results in a few days. PCR tests are generally considered the most accurate, so this can go alongside your home lateral flow test to confirm what you’ve got. 

If your test results come back positive, you know you have COVID. If they’re negative, it’s likely you are just suffering from a bad cold or the flu. Still, you need to know what illness you have so you know what to do next regarding contacting people, isolating, and so on. Hopefully, these two tips will help you differentiate!

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