Can we tell the difference between the symptoms of the coronavirus, the flu, and a cold?

With the arrival of autumn, in addition to coronavirus, we will begin to live with other very common respiratory infections, such as cold wave flu. Can we differentiate them from their symptoms? It is complicated, although we can look at some nuances.

«Although the three pathologies share symptoms, such as cough, general malaise, nasal congestion, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, in practice we find that there is a predominance in each pathology of one or more symptoms», Explains Dr. Mario German Alzate, general practitioner and member of Doctoralia.

In the opinion of the expert consulted, “the coronavirus is related to feverish peaks from the beginning of the clinical picture, together with cough and fatigue. Its evolution may be faster including respiratory distress, anosmia, hyposmia, ageusia or hypogeusia (total loss of smell, partial loss of smell, total loss of taste and partial loss of taste respectively) ».

The cold, however, “will be more related to nasal congestion, runny nose, some sore throat, sneezing, it will hardly be related to myalgia, fatigue, fever and the duration of the clinical picture is the shortest of the three pathologies in question, “says the doctor.

The flu states, the general practitioner points out, “are more associated with headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough initially wetter than in the coronavirus, and its evolution is more constant in the time”.

Even if on paper these differences are clearer than in practice, the consulted doctor considers that they offer a good starting point. “We must always remember that the symptoms are somewhat variable and what will lead us to orient ourselves to one diagnosis or another is a complete and correct assessment of the patient regarding the symptoms that afflict him, his general condition, history, and recent contacts,” he concludes.

In some cases, a test may be necessary screening to help confirm the diagnosis.

In any case, when you start to have any symptoms of a contagious disease, it is recommended to avoid leaving home and contact the health center by phone to receive directions.

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