Maximilien Descartes

Covid-19 or common cold: how to differentiate them?

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Covid-19 or cold: how to differentiate them?

Covid-19 or cold: how to differentiate them?

In this period of pandemic, it is essential to know how to distinguish the symptoms of Covid-19 from those of other seasonal illnesses such as cold, flu or bronchitis. In this article, we will help you identify the distinctive signs of each of these conditions to better understand what you may be experiencing and to act accordingly.

Cold: symptoms and characteristics

The cold, also known as rhinitis or rhinopharyngitis, is mainly characterized by a sore throat, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Fever is usually mild or absent, as are headaches, aches, and pains. According to the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), a person is likely to catch a cold four to five times on average each winter.

The cold is caused by a virus and easily transmitted from one person to another. Although it is generally benign, it can be bothersome and tiring for the person suffering from it. The treatment of the cold mainly relies on symptom relief and rest.

Bronchitis: recognizing its symptoms

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the airways located between the trachea and the lungs. It often starts with a dry cough which, after a few hours or days, turns into a productive cough with thick mucus production. This phlegm is usually yellow or greenish in color.

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Bronchitis can be caused by a viral or bacterial infection and can be acute or chronic. The symptoms of bronchitis can be similar to those of Covid-19, so it is important to consult a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Flu: its distinctive signs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the characteristic symptoms of the flu include the sudden onset of high fever, usually dry cough, headaches, muscle and joint pain, general malaise, sore throat, and runny nose. The cough can be severe and persist for up to two weeks or more.

The flu is a viral infection that can lead to serious complications, especially in the elderly, children, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic diseases. It is important to get vaccinated against the flu every year and to consult a doctor if symptoms occur.

Covid-19: how to recognize it?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, dry cough, fatigue, headaches, and anosmia (loss of taste and smell). Although these symptoms can be similar to those of other respiratory illnesses, the sudden loss of taste and smell is a distinctive sign of Covid-19.

If you suspect you have Covid-19, it is crucial to get tested quickly and to follow isolation measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The treatment of Covid-19 depends on the severity of the symptoms and may include antiviral medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, and respiratory support.

In summary: how to differentiate Covid-19 from other seasonal illnesses?

  • Cold: sore throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, mild or absent fever
  • Bronchitis: dry cough turning into productive cough with mucus production, inflammation of the airways
  • Flu: high fever, dry cough, headaches, muscle and joint pain, general malaise
  • Covid-19: fever, dry cough, fatigue, headaches, anosmia (loss of taste and smell)
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If in doubt or if symptoms persist, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Take care of yourself and your loved ones by respecting barrier gestures and staying informed regularly about the recommendations of health authorities.

  1. What are the main differences between Covid-19 and the common cold?

    Covid-19 and the common cold have similar symptoms, but there are key differences. Covid-19 can cause fever, body aches, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing, while the common cold usually causes sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, and a sore throat.

  2. How can I tell if I have Covid-19 or a cold?

    It can be difficult to distinguish between Covid-19 and a cold based solely on symptoms. The best way to determine if you have Covid-19 is to get tested, especially if you have been in contact with a positive person or if you have severe symptoms.

  3. What should I do if I have symptoms of Covid-19 or a cold?

    If you have symptoms of Covid-19 or a cold, it is important to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus. Consult a healthcare professional for advice on how to manage your symptoms and determine if a Covid-19 test is necessary.

Maximilien Descartes est un rédacteur chevronné spécialisé dans les FAQ, avec plus de quinze ans d’expérience. Diplômé en journalisme de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, il a commencé sa carrière en écrivant pour diverses publications en ligne avant de se concentrer sur la création et la gestion des FAQ. A travers son travail, il s’efforce de fournir des informations claires, concises et pertinentes pour faciliter la compréhension du lecteur. Lorsqu’il n’est pas en train de peaufiner les moindres détails d’une FAQ, vous pouvez le trouver en train de lire le dernier roman de science-fiction ou de parcourir la campagne française à vélo.

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