Yesterday, you had a tickle in your throat. Today, the back of your mouth feels like a furnace and your nose is starting to run. It’s hard to ignore the telltale signs that you’ve caught a virus. If you’re already reaching for over-the-counter medications and a box of tissues, you may be wondering: Is this flu, or do I have COVID?
Difference Between Flu & COVID-19
Two key symptoms that differentiate flu and COVID-19 from the common cold are fever and body aches. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, as well as coughing, shortness of breath, headaches, diarrhea, and vomiting, you may have contracted either flu or the virus that causes COVID-19. The similarity in symptoms is why it’s so hard to differentiate between the two. However, COVID-19 symptoms tend to stick around longer than those from the flu, and COVID-19 patients often report loss of taste and smell.
Is It Possible to Be Infected by Both Flu & COVID-19?
The answer is, unfortunately, yes. Though both viruses are spread in the same manner—via small particles that are released from the mouth and nose when sneezing, coughing, singing, or talking—they are two distinctly different viruses. Flu is caused by the influenza virus, and COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, first identified in 2019. Symptoms from flu become noticeable sooner than COVID-19. However, if these initial symptoms worsen instead of improve after about five days of feeling sick, double infection may be the reason.
The only way to know for sure if you have flu or COVID-19 is to get tested. Rapid antigen tests and viral PCR tests require a nasal sample and can identify an active infection. Some locations also offer a rapid PCR test and a kid-friendly mouth swab test. Confirming or ruling out a COVID-19 infection is the first step toward a treatment plan that can help you manage your symptoms so you can start feeling better.
Should You Wait to See if Your Symptoms Get Worse?
No, and there is a good reason. There are therapeutic treatments to lessen the severity and duration of both flu and COVID-19, for certain populations. However, they are only effective during the first days of symptoms.
With locations in Illinois, Nevada, and California, Jovive Health offers COVID-19 testing services. Schedule a same-day reservation today.