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Difference Between A Cold, The Flu And COVID-19


(Healthline.com) - The common cold and the flu may seem similar at first. They’re both respiratory illnesses and can cause similar symptoms. But different viruses cause these two conditions.

Your symptoms can help you tell the difference between them.

Both a cold and the flu share a few common symptoms. People with either illness often experience:

  • runny nose

  • sneezing

  • body aches

  • general fatigue


As a rule, flu symptoms are more severe than cold symptoms. Another distinct difference between the two is how serious they are. Colds rarely cause other health conditions or problems. But the flu can lead to:

  • sinusitis

  • ear infections

  • pneumonia

  • sepsis


If your symptoms are severe, you may want to confirm either a cold or flu diagnosis. Your doctor will run tests that can help determine what’s behind your symptoms.

During the COVID-19 epidemic, call ahead for the protocol on visiting a doctor in person or having a online visit.

Cold and flu symptoms should also be treated with care due to their overlap with COVID-19 symptoms.

If your doctor diagnoses a cold, you’ll only need to treat your symptoms until the virus has run its course. These treatments can include:

  • using over-the-counter (OTC) cold medications

  • staying hydrated

  • getting plenty of rest