Coronavirus or Regular Flu? How to Tell the Difference

The coronavirus continues to spread, while we are in regular flu times as well. How do you really know what is what? There are many different viruses, and there are even several different coronaviruses – although there is only one that is extra relevant right now.

At present, there are actually seven coronaviruses that can infect us humans and make us sick. (Otherwise, coronaviruses are more common in animals.) Four of the seven viruses cause common colds, while others can cause more severe respiratory problems. The coronary infection that is current right now has been named covid-19, and stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The virus that causes covid-19 is named SARS-CoV-2.

Both the coronavirus and the common flu are precisely viral infections and to know exactly which virus you are suffering from you need to test yourself. But there are some things that differentiate the viruses, and the course of the disease. Here we have gathered some questions, and answers, that show similarities and differences.

How do coronavirus and flu spread?

Both corona and common influenza can be spread between people through so-called drip infection from, for example, sneezing and coughing. And through close contact. But since covid-19 is a new virus, you are still not quite sure how the virus behaves, or how it spreads. On the other hand, it is speculated that covid-19 can spread faster than normal influenza usually does.

What are the symptoms of corona, and the flu respectively?

Both corona and common flu can cause symptoms such as fever, cough, pain in the body, fatigue and in some cases both can lead to pneumonia. Both can thus affect the respiratory organs. Since covid-19 is a new virus that has not been seen in humans before, you don’t really know how the virus manifests itself yet.

But those who have had covid-19 so far and who have had mild disease symptoms have had cough and fever for a couple of weeks, others have been suffering from the same symptoms for up to six weeks.

Those who have become more seriously ill have difficulty breathing, usually after a week into the disease course. More difficult breathing has led to rapid breathing, which means that the blood does not oxygenate as well. In some cases, respirators or other intensive care have been required.

How long is the incubation time for corona and flu?

The seasonal flu incubation period is usually 1-3 days, for covid-19 it is 2-14 days.

Do the treatment of corona and flu differ?

Since both corona and influenza come from viruses, antibacterial medicine, such as antibiotics, does not help. What you can do is relieve the symptoms. For example, you can try to keep the fever down with anti-fever medication.

If you are more severely affected by covid-19, health care can help support the functioning of the lungs and possibly other organs that have been affected. But on the other hand, you can also do this if you become equally ill from the usual flu, so it depends more on how the body has been affected – regardless of the virus.

There is something called an antiviral treatment that can be used for seasonal flu, it is a type of antidepressant for viruses that should be given at the beginning of the flu and currently given to some patients who are at risk or who are already seriously ill before.

Are there cures for corona or flu?

There is no cure once you get the virus, but there is usually a vaccine against the more common influenza today. Each year, the vaccine is adapted to the latest virus that ravages and is said to provide about 40-60 percent protection against it.

Covid-19 has no vaccine yet, and it may take as long as a year before it is available.

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