As we are living in the latest norm, there are lots of aspects to be mastered and learned within such a brief period of time. From hand hygiene, proper mask use, to social distancing, appropriate standard procedure at work, restaurants, gyms and shops etc. However, one can still have a small risk to get ill regardless of the precautions taken. Having said that, how do we know what we have for sure? Stay put and do your Covid-19 test from your home, by knowing the differences between common flu and the evil Covid-19.
At this point, it needs to be accepted that we do not know everything yet as researchers are still learning about the virus and the disease. We do know that the illness is eerily similar to the flu, or even the common cold, making it a little bit baffling to tell them apart. Compared to the flu, Covid-19 seems to have a longer incubation period. Symptoms may show up generally within 5 days, up to 14 days. In contrast, flu symptoms will start appearing in 1-3 days.
So, what are the symptoms of Covid-19 infection? They can range from light symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and headache, to more major issues like shortness of breath and other respiratory issues, which may need ventilation support. This is one of the serious problems faced by healthcare contributors as the number of available ventilators are very limited. Not everyone that needs it will be lucky enough to obtain it. There are also cases where patients had described the loss of sense of taste and smell, although not common. Common flu usually comes with body pain, headache, loss of appetite and chills apart from the cough and fever.
Now that we have the idea of how people are affected, let’s know about the outcome of these 2 infections? While due to the flu tens of thousands individuals got killed each year, with estimated 29,000 to 59,000 deaths for the current season by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current pandemic of Covid-19 has reached a death count of more than 100,000 in the United States alone. All-inclusive, this pandemic has caused about 350,000 deaths worldwide.
With a higher death rate, the fact that Covid-19 spreads more easily is not helping. World leaders have taken various measures to restrict the spread, by promoting face mask use, proper sanitizing and social distancing, as the virus is known to spread by tiny droplets from sneeze and cough, along with direct contact with an infected person and indirect contact through surfaces or objects handled by those with the virus. In some settings, sanitation and disinfection processes of premises are also done. According to the CDC, the flu can also spread via contact, although less often.
As days pass, we learn more facts about the evil virus. One of them is, that the infection can cause some serious, deathly complications. Based on studies done in China, these complications include drastic respiratory failure, pneumonia and acute cardiac injury, to name a few. It was also suggested that Covid-19 infection is the source for the formation of blood clots, which can injure more vital organs, as new studies raised when it was observed that cases of young patients with Covid-19 started getting complicated with stroke.
Management of Covid-19 will hopefully be smoother as we are learning more each day. While the symptoms could provide us with some clues whether it is Covid-19, the flu or just a cold, screening by swabs is still needed to confirm any suspicion of infection. Besides self-quarantine, getting tested is the finest solution if one has a history of potential exposure/ travelling. Be safe and stay home.