Is it Covid-19 or just a cold? Here’s how to tell the difference

By Sarah Jacoby

Not only did we see yet another rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant but at the same time, flu cases were also ticking upward, and it was the cold season, of course. So if you’re feeling congested and tired, it might be tough to figure out which one of these illnesses you’ve got.

There is a lot of overlap in symptoms but there are a few differences.

Common cold symptoms

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion

Common flu symptoms

Unlike with the common cold or Covid-19, flu symptoms tend to come on suddenly and can feel severe. The flu hits you right away. If you’ve ever had the flu, you know you get to a point where you can’t get out of bed.

Here is what to look out for:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headaches

General Covid-19 symptoms

With the previous Covid variants, including delta, the main sign was a loss of taste or smell. In addition, people experienced other cold- and flu-like symptoms.

  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Loss of taste and smell

Omicron Covid-19 symptoms

So far, the signs of omicron tend to be similar to previous COVID-19 strains and they might include mild cold-like symptoms. But there are some slight differences emerging.

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose and congestion
  • Night sweats
  • Less likely to have a loss of taste or smell

When should you get tested?

One of the biggest things is you want to avoid self-diagnosing. That means if you’re displaying any symptoms, you want to go ahead and get tested. And, again, you should assume you have COVID-19 until your test says otherwise.

When it comes to Covid-19 and the flu, know that it’s not too late to be vaccinated for either — or both at the same time.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Health Line)

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