What are the differences between the flu symptoms and current COVID symptoms? How can you spot the difference between the two?
“Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms to severe symptoms.
“Unlike a cold, flu symptoms start suddenly and are more severe – usually a high temperature, extreme fatigue and significant widespread aches and pains – and there may also be a dry cough and sore throat in some people.
“COVID symptoms vary enormously, ranging from none at all to fatal. We now know there is a wide range of symptoms, but the big three to look out for are a temperature of 37.8C or greater, a dry cough and a loss of the senses of taste & smell. There may also be an associated shortness of breath and fatigue.
“With flu, a person may experience symptoms anywhere from one to four days after infection, whereas with COVID-19 a person may experience symptoms anywhere from two to five days, and up to 14 days after infection.”
How contagious is the flu versus COVID?
“Although COVID-19 and flu spread in similar ways – mainly by virus particles that are expelled when people with either of these illnesses cough, sneeze, or talk – in general, COVID-19 is more contagious than flu viruses.”
What is the best course of action currently if you test positive for COVID?
“If you test positive for COVID-19, you can pass on the virus to other people for up to ten days from when your infection starts, although most people will no longer be infectious to others after five days.
“Try to stay at home, avoid contact with other people for five days and avoid meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for ten days, especially if they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. This starts from the day after you tested positive.”
What is the best course of action if you test negative for COVID and therefore can assume it’s flu?
“General measures to get better include getting enough rest and sleep, keeping warm, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches & pains, and drinking plenty of water.
“Flu remedies are also available from pharmacies, but be careful not to use these if you’re taking paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as it’s easy to take more than the recommended dose.
“If you have a blocked nose, try using a decongestant such as Olbas nasal spray to help ease these symptoms.”
How can we best to strengthen our immune systems to protect us?
“Taking Vitamin D regularly not only helps keep your bones in good health, but can also help boost your immune system. Try taking a daily supplement along with Vitamin C and Zinc.
“Make sure you also get enough sleep and eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to take regular exercise every day – this can be as simple as a long walk in the fresh air – and aim to keep your alcohol intake within recommended levels!”
It’s vital to note that no diagnosis based on symptoms alone is 100% accurate. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (even if they could just be symptoms of a cold), you should take a test at home as soon as possible not only for your own peace of mind, but to keep others around you safe.