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The different symptoms of cold (flu-like infection), flu and COVID-19
The different symptoms of cold (flu-like infection), flu and COVID-19

Cold (flu-like infection), flu or COVID-19? We have listed the most important distinguishing features.

woman has the flu and is drinking tea on the sofa
woman has the flu and is drinking tea on the sofa

In general, there is confusion of terms when it comes to colds and flu. At the moment, however, we are faced with the great challenge of differentiating the first two from a COVID-19 infection. If you have a classic cold without any further symptoms, you do not have to be tested for corona viruses. We have reported about it in more detail here. But if you get a fever, cough and severe headache, things look very different. We listed the symptoms and checked with the Ministry of Health.

Is it a flu or a flu-like infection?

Cold (flu-like infection)

A cold announces itself slowly and with a sore throat, which is then usually followed by a runny nose and cough. There is no or only slightly increased temperature. A flu-like infection can be treated well with prescription-free drugs from the pharmacy and is usually over after seven to ten days. You should definitely stay at home. Not only for your sake, but also the immune system of your colleagues should not be strained.

  • Begins rather insidiously: feeling unwell, sore throat, hoarseness
  • Fever below 37.5 degrees
  • headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Dry, irritating cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Significant improvement possible after a few days

Flu (influenza)

The flu, on the other hand, sets in very suddenly with fever, chills and severe headache and body aches. The symptoms of the disease are very pronounced and those affected should definitely see a doctor. Because only up to 48 hours after the onset of symptoms, antiviral drugs (prescription only) can still weaken and shorten the course of the disease. Duration: seven to 14 days.

  • Starts suddenly: immediately noticeable headache and body aches
  • Fever of 38 degrees to 40 degrees possible
  • cough
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Chills and chills
  • Runny nose is rare!
  • The flu takes longer - 5 to 7 days in bed possible

Untreated influenza infection can lead to secondary diseases such as bronchitis, inflammation of the lungs, sinuses, ears, the nervous system and also the heart muscle. There is also the risk of meningitis or - especially in children - swelling of the vocal cords ("pseudo croup"). Children in particular are easily infected with the flu. On the other hand, under 10-year-olds rarely get COVID-19. In any case, a test in children under the age of 10 should be initiated if the child has a fever and there is no other identifiable cause.

You might also be interested in: Coronavirus: How do I know if my child is a suspected case?

Coronovirus: The Most Common Symptoms of COVID-19 Disease

COVID-19 disease takes on very different proportions in many people. Most infected people develop mild to moderate symptoms and get well without hospitalization. The duration also depends on the course of the disease. 1450 should be notified immediately at the first symptoms. From this point on, the first thing to do is to stay at home.

Common symptoms:

  • fever
  • Dry cough
  • fatigue
  • Loss of smell and taste

Rare symptoms:

  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat

Severe symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Loss of speech or movement

How do I differentiate gastrointestinal disease or the flu from COVID-19?

Clinical Criteria

According to the Ministry of Health, you should stay at home if you have any form of respiratory disease, 1450 and call a doctor. Especially with the following symptoms (with or without fever): cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, sudden loss of the sense of taste / smell. Any person who meets the clinical criteria is therefore considered a suspected case. However, there is currently a good chance that you will have caught a flu rather than the coronavirus. But caution is also advised with other symptoms (such as diarrhea) for which there is no plausible explanation. If in doubt, call 1450 to find out what to do.

Do I have to pay for the corona test myself?

If there is a justified suspicion of an infection, the costs of the test will be covered.

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