Is Your Fever a Symptom of the Flu or COVID-19?
It’s almost been a year since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. Since that time, every sneeze, cough, sniffle, or hint of not feeling well may have you paranoid that a diagnosis of the coronavirus is imminent.
Fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 and the flu. Because these conditions overlap in many ways, it may be difficult to know with certainty which one you are suffering from. The only real way to tell the difference may be through confirming a diagnosis through testing.
How the flu and COVID-19 are similar
Both caused by viruses
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CCD), both COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesases caused by different viruses. The influenza virus causes the flu, and the coronavirus causes COVID-19, referred to as SARS-CoV-2.
Both have common symptoms
COVID-19 and the flu have some overlapping symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle pain or body aches
Both can cause severe illness and a range of complications
The flu and COVID-19 can result in severe illness and complications for high-risk individuals, including older adults, those with underlying conditions, and pregnant women.
Both spread the same way
The flu and COVID-19 are both spread primarily through respiratory droplets made when people sneeze, cough, or even talk. The small virus particles linger in the air, and another person can quickly become infected. People can also become infected by touching surfaces with these virus particles and then touching their faces. You may have the flu or COVID-19 for several days without realizing it and could spread it to others.
Both are treated the same
Because they are both viruses, you can’t treat COVID-19 and the flu with antibiotics. In both situations, the goal is to address the symptoms, including reducing fever. In some situations, people may require hospitalization or even need to go on a ventilator, particularly for individuals with severe COVID-19 cases.
Both have vaccines
There are vaccines available to protect against the flu and COVID-19.
Annually, three to four vaccines are administered for the flu, and currently, there are two vaccines approved to prevent COVID-19.
How the flu and COVID-19 are different
Rate of transmission
While COVID-19 is still relatively new, the observation is that it is more contagious and spreads more easily than the flu. People are often infectious for longer without showing symptoms when they’ve been infected with COVID-19, or they could show no signs at all. COVID-19 can cause what is referred to as “super spreader” events, meaning the virus spreads easily and quickly to many people.
Each affects children differently
The CDC reports that while children can contract COVID-19, the risk of severe complications is relatively low. Children who get sick with the flu, however, are at higher risk for becoming seriously ill.
Time it takes for symptoms to appear
When someone has COVID-19, it may take longer for symptoms, like fever, to appear. In most cases, someone with COVID-19 develops symptoms about five days after becoming infected; however, they could show signs anywhere between two and 14 days. If someone has the flu, it typically takes about one to four days for symptoms to surface.
How you can fight off the flu and COVID-19
Aside from getting both the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine (when it’s your turn), you should also follow prevention measures, including wearing a mask, being vigilant about hand-washing, and maintaining at least six feet of distance between you and others. Taking good care of yourself by eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and getting adequate rest also will help strengthen your immune system.
Your health comes first at Community First ER
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with flu or COVID-19, including fever, we are here for you. Our team of professionals will complete a thorough evaluation and can test for both COVID-19 and the flu. Here’s what you can expect from the professionals at Community First ER:
We’re taking above-level COVID-19 precautions
Don’t let the fear of COVID-19 prevent you from seeking life-saving medical care. Your apprehension is understandable; however, we want to assure you we maintain strict infection prevention measures and precautions above and beyond what is recommended by health officials so you can experience peace of mind at our facility. Our coronavirus prevention measures include mask-wearing, checking temperatures upon arrival, regular disinfecting, and creating social distance between patients.
Our commitment to you
At Community First ER, we are committed to providing you the best possible care now and always. We have both adult and pediatric emergency care available. We have a team of medical and surgical specialists that we consult with to help manage our patients and their medical emergencies. We form relationships with local doctors to ensure that our patients have access to the best specialists for their individual needs.
About Community First Emergency Room
Emergency health care, especially in the time of a pandemic, is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us.