Chilly, Flu, Or COVID-19?

“Don’t go outside,” our grandmothers scolded. “It’s wet. You’re getting sick!” As wise as it is, cold and flu viruses don’t quite work. Let’s sum it up.

Invasion of the body kidnappers

Dr. Thomas S. Ahrens is a member of the American Academy of Nursing. As an international researcher, he has written five books and more than 100 research papers. You could say he knows a thing or two about how these viruses work.

What does “flu season” mean anyway? “The flu season usually lasts from November to May,” explains Ahrens. During this time, the air is colder and drier, which allows the flu virus to survive longer and spread further. However, colds thrive year round. As for COVID-19, it’s probably too early to tell, but experts believe that fall and winter can see spikes in some cases, especially as people spend more time indoors.

The difference between a cold and the flu

Walk down the aisles of a drugstore and you will see product after product marketed for both colds and flu. But these two diseases are hardly twins.

“It would be like summarizing all people as identical,” explains Ahrens. “While the common cold and flu are both caused by viruses, they are two very different viruses with different effects.”

With the common cold you have symptoms like

  • a runny nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Sore throat or sore throat
  • Body aches

If you have the flu, you will experience it

  • Fever and chills
  • fatigue
  • Body aches
  • to cough

“The muscle pain is usually much greater with the flu,” warns Ahrens. “Both of them may have a sore throat, but a cold will make it worse. And you might feel a little more stuffy and stuffy with a cold. However, in general, you will feel much worse with the flu. Unless you’re a man – we complain a lot no matter what. “

What about COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms can vary widely. Some people may be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. That is why it is so important to be careful.

Common symptoms are

  • fever
  • chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • runny nose
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • a headache
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • aching

Symptoms may be less common

  • stuffy nose
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Dizziness, confusion
  • stomach pain
  • Rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes

While we once ventured to work or exercise in public when we “just caught a cold” (or worse), it is certainly not the right approach these days. Staying home when we have any symptoms is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, contact your local health department and follow their instructions for next steps, including possible isolation and testing. This is also important so that public health officials can conduct all necessary contact traces. Always follow the instructions of your local health authority – this will help protect you and others.

Together we can support each other and slow the spread of viruses this season and all year round.

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