Headache, fever, runny nose, last year this time you might’ve waved off the symptoms with an “Oh, I think I’ve got a cold” or a “I hope this isn’t the flu.”
But those very same, very familiar symptoms are likely to give you pause this season now that COVID-19 is a possibility. How can you tell the difference?
The most common symptoms of colds are sneezing, aches and pains, a runny nose and sore throat. This is sometimes accompanied by a mild cough, fatigue, and—rarely—fever or headaches.
COVID and flu, both respiratory illnesses, can look even more alike. So the Centers for Disease Control has posted information on their similarities.
Flu and COVID can share these symptoms: fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or body aches and headache. Both flu and COVID viruses can cause mild to severe illness.
Because the two are so similar, testing may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.
In either case, be alert to warning signs, such as trouble breathing, chest pressure, confusion, bluish lips or face or inability to stay awake or wake up, and call 9-1-1 or call ahead to your local emergency facility.