Flu or COVID-19; How do you know?

Health Watch

As we’re all anxiously awaiting a vaccine for the coronavirus, don’t forget about getting your flu vaccine. This year’s shots are arriving at doctors’ offices as we speak. During the 2018-2019 flu season, more than 34,000 Americans lost their lives to the illness.

But this year, how will you know if you have the flu or COVID-19? We have the answers to your questions. One big question … will both viruses be around in the fall and winter? The CDC says it’s likely. You might also wonder: how will I know if it’s COVID or the flu?

“It’s hard to tell the two of them apart. Both of them will cause a runny nose, a fever, a headache, they’ll make you cough,” said Dr. Kenneth Alexander, MD, PhD, Division Chief of Infectious Disease at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

COVID and the flu have similar symptoms, but the COVID-19 virus often causes a loss of taste or smell. With the flu, a person develops symptoms one to four days after contracting the virus. For COVID, the timeframe ranges and can be as late as 14 days after infection.

Another concern? Having the coronavirus and the flu at the same time. Experts say it’s possible and some are wondering if the flu vaccine will protect them against COVID-19. The answer is no. It only protects against the flu.

You may also be asking what’s more dangerous: the flu or COVID? Right now, the CDC says it does seem as though COVID-19 is more deadly than the seasonal flu, but that could change as researchers continue to analyze the data.

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