Coronavirus: What are symptoms of COVID-19 vs. regular flu?

There are major differences between the regular flu and COVID-19. Here are some of the differences between a cold, the flu and COVID-19, as compiled by the CDC.

News 12 Staff

Mar 13, 2020, 3:30 PM

Updated 1,536 days ago

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There is a lot of information floating around right now about the coronavirus outbreak. At every sniffle or cough, you may wonder if you have COVID-19 or if you are being exposed to it. But there are major differences between the regular flu and COVID-19. Below are some of the differences between a cold, the flu and COVID-19, as compiled by the CDC and Harvard Medical School.
Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, according to the CDC.
The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. These warning signs* include:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are sever or concerning
The CDC says flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
Additionally, according to the Harvard Medical School’s coronavirus resource center, these are some notes on how to know if you have COVID-19 or the regular flu:
COVID-19 often causes symptoms similar to those a person with a bad cold or the flu would experience. And like the flu, the symptoms can progress and become life-threatening. Your doctor is more likely to suspect coronavirus if:
  • you have respiratory symptoms
and
  • you recently traveled to countries with ongoing community spread of the COVID-19 virus, including China, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, or
  • you have been exposed to someone suspected of having COVID-19, or
  • there has been community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in your area
Click here for more from the CDC.
Photos: Impact of coronavirus around the world
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