PASADENA – Understanding the differences among the common cold, the flu and COVID-19 can be challenging, as they share many symptoms that can be confusing and worrisome to many people who may wonder what steps they should take to protect their health.
Dr. Daisy Dodd, an infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente Southern California, said that although these three diseases share common symptoms, they have distinctive differences the public should become familiar with, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There’s no doubt that there are similarities among these illnesses,” she said. “However, there also are significant differences one should be familiar with, as that will help you better understand when to seek necessary medical attention.”
Dodd said that while people may feel miserable when they have a cold, the symptoms are generally milder compared to more aggressive viruses like the flu and COVID-19. A cold is typically less severe and can cause any or all of the following symptoms: runny or stuffy nose; a mild cough; fatigue; sneezing; sore throat and aches and pains.
Unlike the common cold, the flu generally comes on fast and furious. Here are some of its common symptoms: fever and/or chills; dry cough; fatigue; aches and pains; runny and stuffy nose and sore throat.
When it comes to COVID-19, it shares some symptoms with the common cold and flu, but the disease has other distinctive symptoms. They include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; loss of taste and smell; diarrhea; fever and/or chills; dry cough; tiredness; aches and pains; headaches and sore throat.
When in doubt whether they have a cold, the flu or COVID-19, Dodd advised that people contact their health care provider to see if medical attention is necessary.
Submitted by Kaiser Permanente.