Difference between Covid-19 and the flu?

As winter sets in and with flu season just around the corner, many experts are talking about the ‘twindemic’ of influenza  (the flu) and Covid-19 hitting at once. With many similar symptoms and so many winter viruses in circulation, how can you tell the difference? We are here to help.

Are the viruses similar?

Both are respiratory illnesses that are passed from person to person in close contact through droplets or aerosols released through talking, coughing, or sneezing. People can become infected with both viruses by touching contaminated surfaces and their face, eyes, or mouth.

Some people are at higher risk for severe illnesses from both viruses. Covid-19 and influenza can lead to serious complications, including pneumonia, heart attacks, organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome. However, the vast majority of people should recover from both illnesses with rest and fluids at home.

However, they are not the same. Covid 19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, whilst flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses.

Covid or the cold? Get tested with our exclusive influenza test kitsHow do the illnesses start?

At the start of both the flu and Covid-19 infections, it can be hard to differentiate between them. Both viruses can cause overlapping symptoms, including fever, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, body aches, headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The time of symptom onset is different; people with the flu start to experience symptoms within one to four days. Those with Covid can develop symptoms within one to 14 days.

Are there different symptoms?

As both illnesses wear on, there are different symptoms. Patients suffering from Covid-19 are more likely to experience a loss of taste and smell. This symptom is thought to appear around two days after contracting the virus up to 14 days after symptom onset. Two new symptoms that are being reported with Covid-19 infections now include skin rashes, particularly in younger people, and red, swollen eyes.

How can I be sure I have flu or Covid?

The only way to find out if you are suffering from Covid-19 or the flu is through testing. Our rapid test kits have excellent accuracy rates and deliver fast results. These tests are ideal for home or commercial use. To have both illnesses at the same time is not common but is possible. The flu cannot turn into Covid and vice versa because different viruses cause them.

What else can I do?

To protect against flu and Covid-19, you can follow similar measures. This involves keeping your distance from others and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated areas. Remember to wash and clean your hand frequently and cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue and throw it into a closed bin. Finally, always stay at home if you feel unwell.

There are also Covid-19 and influenza vaccinations to prevent the severity and duration of these illnesses. In addition to our Covid-19 test kits, we now have drug and alcohol home test kits exclusively available.

To find out more about our rapid Covid and flu tests

Get in touch to find out more details about our rapid testing kits. We can be reached on 0800 999 1897 or via email at info@lateralflowtest.co.uk

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