Flu or Covid: how to differentiate the symptoms and know which virus I am infected with?

Because the symptoms are very similar, it is not always easy to differentiate the flu from Covid-19. So what to do? Are there distinctive signs? Or is testing the only option?

With winter approaching, the flu epidemic is back in France. In parallel, SARS-CoV-2 continues to circulate. If Covid-19 and the flu are caused by different viruses, the symptoms suggestive of these respiratory diseases are nevertheless very similar.

Bedridden with a fever of 40, chills, sore throat, cough, breathing difficulties, great fatigue or body aches… The 2 diseases are so similar in their manifestations (which can range from asymptomatic forms to signs very serious) that it is very difficult to tell them apart. In fact, only the change or loss of taste or smell, more common in Covid-19, can help you see things more clearly (even if this specific sign has gradually diminished over the variants ).

What differences?

If the Covid-19 has been revealed little by little for almost 3 years, it still retains its share of mysteries. At the moment, scientists agree that it spreads more easily than the flu. Compared to the latter, Covid can be more serious in some people and persist longer.

Also, if you develop Covid-19, it may take longer from the time of infection to the onset of the first symptoms. And this compared to the flu. But, let’s be honest, this does not constitute sufficiently convincing clues to make the difference between the 2 pathologies.

Only the test will tell you

Faced with all these similarities, “only specific tests can confirm a diagnosis”, explain the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta in the United States. If those used for Covid are now well known, be aware that there are also rapid diagnostic tests for influenza.

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