At first glance, the so-called corona symptoms do not differ from the symptoms of the flu. But there are some very specific distinguishing features. (Image: zigres / stock.adobe.com)
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) today reported 6,638 new infections and 34 new deaths in 24 hours. The second wave of infections has therefore reached Germany. The difference between a coronavirus infection and a seasonal flu is hard to see at first glance for laymen but also for medical personnel. However, there are specific unique selling points that point to a coronavirus infection.
In addition to the available test methods, the present symptoms also indicate which disease may be the cause of the symptoms. Because in addition to a few similarities, there are also differences.
Influenza viruses and coronaviruses are spread from person to person in the same way, that is, mainly through droplets that escape from the nose and mouth – especially when someone a cough, sneeze or talk. If another person inhales such droplets in the air, there is a risk of infection. Infection is also possible by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Since COVID-19 is a new disease, there are hardly any immunities in the population, which is why SARS-CoV-2 is much more contagious than influenza viruses.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 and flu are common, says infectious disease specialist
Differences from COVID-19
Some people with COVID-19 also develop other symptoms. “Patients with COVID-19 have more diarrhea or nausea and vomiting,” reports Dr. Kristin Englund, infectious disease specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in the United States. Changes in smell or taste and confusion are also not uncommon with COVID-19. “COVID-19 appears to affect more organs in the body than the flu,” the researcher said.
COVID-19 lasts longer than the flu
As Dr. Englund reports that there are also differences in the duration of the disease. “Typically, flu symptoms persist for four or five days, or even seven days,” says the doctor. However, a COVID-19 illness lasts an average of ten days, and even longer if the course is severe.
Complications of influenza and COVID-19
Complications can occur with both diseases. The flu along with COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissue. The risk of complications is higher in older people and in people with underlying illnesses. Dr. According to Englund, there are additional complications with COVID-19. For example, blood clots and multisystem inflammation can occur.
“What we’re seeing with COVID-19 are the so-called ‘mass media events’, where an infected person goes to a meeting or party, but doesn’t necessarily have symptoms – and still transmits the virus to many people in his area, “reports Dr. Englund.
Contact a doctor in case of suspicion
However, only a test can provide a reliable distinction. The infectious disease specialist strongly recommends contacting a doctor if you suspect an infection. It doesn’t matter if it’s the flu or COVID-19. (sb, vb)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and ongoing studies and has been verified by healthcare professionals.
Cleveland Clinic: Influenza vs. COVID-19: Can you tell the difference? (published: 09/10/2020), clevelandclinic.org
This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.