Many symptoms of COVID-19 and flu overlap, which could cause considerable concern and anxiety if you or a loved one become sick. Common symptoms of both illnesses include: fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain or aches, headache, and vomiting or diarrhea (more common among children). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one symptom of COVID-19 that’s not usually present with flu is a new loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 has a longer incubation period than flu. Flu symptoms typically develop 1 to 4 days after infection, while COVID-19 symptoms can develop anywhere from 2 to 14 days after infection. This information could be helpful if you have a known exposure to someone with a positive test for one of these illnesses.

If you come down with symptoms and aren’t sure whether they are caused by COVID-19 or flu, the first thing you should do is quarantine yourself. Stay home and avoid contact with other members of your household. 

If you’re concerned about your symptoms or if you are at high risk of complications from COVID-19 or flu, contact your healthcare clinician. If you have emergency symptoms — such as difficulty breathing, chest pressure, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, or blue lips or face — call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Tell the 911 dispatcher or emergency department operator about your symptoms so they can take the necessary precautions to protect you and others.

Courtesy of Nuvance Health

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