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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

How can I tell if I have COVID-19, a Cold, or the Flu?

With the seasons changing, you may likely feel a little under the weather at times. People have been dealing with common colds and the flu at this time every year for ages. With COVID-19 thrown into the mix, it’s understandable to feel uneasy with even the slightest of symptoms. But how can you tell if your signs and symptoms are indicative of COVID-19, a cold, or the flu?

Alberta Health Services has released an infographic comparing common symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019, the common cold, and the flu:

Some red flags that may indicate infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Other warning signs include sudden loss/lack of taste or smell.

SARS-CoV-2 and influenza are similar in the sense that they are both contagious respiratory viruses spread via small droplets released from the nose and mouth. However, their effects are notably different as we are witnessing across the world. Keep in mind that we have built up immunity from various seasonal flu strains throughout our lives, but COVID-19 is a whole new ballgame, and we have no known immunity to help us combat it.

Alberta Health Services helps put this into perspective, “COVID-19 causes severe disease in a higher percentage of cases than seasonal influenza. Estimates of mortality in COVID-19 cases depend on many things, but on average, they range from about 1-2 deaths per 100 people infected. By comparison, seasonal influenza is deadly in about 1 in every 1000 who are infected.” It’s important to remember that our bodies’ individual chemical makeup varies - meaning that it’s vital to review signs and symptoms on a case-by-case basis. Having knowledge of this infographic does not mean that you can confidently rule out the infection from SARS-CoV-2. If you are displaying any symptoms indicative of COVID-19, it’s best to play it safe to reduce the spread by staying home away from others and finding out if/when you should get tested. Those two steps can save countless souls from falling victim to this indiscriminate killer.

This article is not intended as medical advice and does not replace the diagnosis or instructions of a licensed healthcare provider. If you suspect that you may have COVID-19 and/or have any symptoms, you should follow the guidelines on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Québec | Gouvernement du Québec.


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