It can be difficult to differentiate the flu from a cold or COVID-19. This can be confusing because they share common symptoms. Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step toward your recovery.

If you have a cough or chills, and are feeling feverish or tired, you could be diagnosed with any one of these:

Cold Symptoms

The common cold is caused by many types of viruses – unlike COVID-19, which is caused by coronavirus, or the flu by the influenza virus. If you have a cold, you may be experiencing congestion, a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. Symptoms of the common cold tend to be mild. It’s uncommon to have body aches and fever, those are usually COVID-19 and flu symptoms. Another characteristic of the cold is the recovery time, you’ll usually feel better within 10 days.

Allergy Symptoms

Often, allergies are confused with viral conditions such as COVID-19, influenza, or the common cold. However, unlike viral respiratory symptoms, allergies are not contagious. While allergies can cause a runny nose and sneezing, due to the inflammation of the nasal passages, these symptoms tend to stop when you are no longer exposed to the trigger (for example, dust, pets or pollen).

Flu Symptoms

Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. If you have the flu, your symptoms probably came on suddenly and present themselves as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches – sometimes even diarrhea, although this is more common in children.

COVID-19 Symptoms

COVID-19 is caused by infection with coronavirus. Symptoms appear gradually, 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, and can be mild or severe. COVID-19 can cause fever, sore throat, tiredness, cough, or shortness of breath. Loss of smell and taste are frequently reported, caused by virus tropism affecting olfactory neurons. COVID-19 may cause severe diseases such as pneumonia or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Flu vs. COVID-19

Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses. Influenza is caused by the influenza virus, while COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Since flu-like symptoms vary according to different degrees and changes between each clinical case, it’s important not to self-diagnose.

Common Symptoms

Both COVID-19 and the flu can vary, from no symptoms to severe ones. Here is a list of common symptoms between the two:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (more probable in children, but can happen at any age with COVID-19)
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, more frequent with COVID-19.

Click below to check your symptoms through guided and simple questions to get a diagnosis in less than two minutes.