Factors That Sets Flu And COVID-19 Illnesses Apart

Tiredness, cough, and fever are common initial symptoms of COVID-19. The concerning aspect is that the symptoms are similar to the flu. Nevertheless, many factors set both respiratory illnesses apart.


Influenza A is caused by the influenza virus. Hundreds of influenza strains are found that often mutate. Besides, influenza B, C, & D also exist. On the other hand, coronavirus is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It belongs to a vast coronaviruses family. Mild viruses cause the common cold, whereas severe ones spread SARS and MERS.


Seasonal influenza is sudden and its symptoms are experienced within 1 to 4 days. Common symptoms of influenza are –

  • Chills or fever
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Vomit or diarrhea
  • Fatigue

Covid-19 symptoms appear within 1 to 14 days after exposure. The symptoms are –

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Breath shortness
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Stuffy nose
  • Diarrhea

People struggling with flu or coronavirus must wear protective face masks to avoid spreading infection. Even healthy people can wear cotton masks when they leave their homes to avoid infected fluids splashed on their faces. Even avoid touching their hands on their face because coronavirus spreads via the mucous membrane.


As the symptoms of flu and coronavirus overlap a little and the complication that starts, set them apart. COVID-19 impact is more severe than the seasonal flu because the global public has built potent immunity towards seasonal flu strains. As COVID-19 is new, there is a lack of immunity. Therefore there is a risk of getting infected and some infections can cause severe illness.

Moderate complications of flu are sinus and ear infection. Serious complications are pneumonia, myocarditis, encephalitis, multiple organ failure, muscle tissue inflammation, chronic conditions worsening, and sepsis.

The complications of COVID-19 are pneumonia, kidney failure, and SARS. Both flu and COVID-19 can cause fatalities in many serious cases.


Both spread via infected persons’ respiratory droplets. According to the World Health Organization, flu spreads rapidly than coronavirus because its incubation period is shorter.


Flu has preventative and curative measure but coronavirus is new and so does not have. Mild symptoms of both conditions can be treated using OTC medications. Annual flu shots are to be taken to reduce the risks by 60%. Antiviral medications reduce the flu symptoms on early diagnoses.

Currently, there are no vaccines or antiviral medicines for COVID-19 treatment. FDA has approved antivirus medication Remdesivir for treating severe cases of coronavirus. Clinical trials are conducted to identify, whether existing drugs can be used to treat coronavirus safely or not. Lack of treatment options for treating coronavirus pandemic sounds scary but people are recovering without any need for special treatment.

Guidance for protection from coronavirus infection

  • CDC clearly recommends that the general public wear cloth masks. N95 and surgical masks need to be reserved for first-line defense health workers.
  • It is necessary to maintain a 6 feet distance from one another.
  • People who show symptoms or tested positive must stay isolated as well as wear mask to avoid spreading infection.