With the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, another infection is causing problems for people worldwide. The flu season is coming, and knowing the difference between the two viral infections could be crucial to what response you should be taking.
According to AP News, there is almost no significant difference between the two types of viral infections. Common symptoms such as body aches, sore throat, fever, and other difficulties are present in both conditions.
Influenza vs. coronavirus
However, experts say the crucial difference between the flu and the COVID-19 is that people infected with influenza are more prone to being sickest during the first week of their illness. On the other hand, people who have coronavirus would feel worst during the second or third week of infection, which may last for a longer period.
Another factor that separates the two infections is that the coronavirus is more likely to rob an individual of their sense of taste or smell than the flu. However, experts warn that not all infected people experience this symptom, advising it would not be a clear indication.
The best way to determine whether or not a person is infected with the flu or the coronavirus is by testing. Doctors would be required to be more aware of the test results whenever a patient comes in sick. This is especially true with the upcoming flu season.
Infectious Diseases Expert, Dr Daniel Solomon of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said that an individual could potentially be stricken with both viruses at the same time, making it much more difficult to test and cure and much more threatening.
Dr Solomon noted that the possibility of getting tested for both illnesses would depend on the available tests at hand and the more prominent virus that is affecting the area where a person resides in.
The medical expert added that currently, they are not seeing community transmission of influenza, which leads them not to recommend testing for the flu just yet.
Rapid spread of the virus
The way that both the flu and the coronavirus spread is through droplets excreted from the nose and mouth. Hosts can spread the virus even before symptoms show which makes it much more difficult to determine who to avoid, as reported by Business Mirror.
Another difference between the two infections is that the flu has a much shorter incubation period than the COVID-19. This generally means that it only takes about one to four days for an individual to feel sick. At the same time, when infected with the coronavirus, symptoms do not show until about 14 days after the initial infection.
The coronavirus is known to be much more contagious than the flu, but it has been observed that some people do not spread the infection while others easily infect other people they interact with.
Solomon said the superspreader events of the coronavirus are much more common than those of the influenza.
Preventing influenza begins with annual flu shots that medical experts tailored to the strains of flu virus that are spreading. Several health officials are hoping to see a record number of flu vaccinations so that medical workers and hospitals are not swamped with two epidemics at once.