Is it a cold, the flu, or COVID-19?

Many of us have been on edge this year as we now notice every little sniffle or cough that we might usually ignore- even the slightest symptom has us wondering if we are experiencing seasonal allergies, a common cold, or something more serious like the flu. This year, we also have COVID-19 to contend with. There has been a lot of information out there to help us differentiate between these possible illnesses. To keep our caregivers, clients, and families safe while being cared for in the home, it is important for us to know what makes COVID-19 different from the flu or a common cold.
There are many similar symptoms that you might experience in any of these health problems, so let’s break down the differences to recognize serious concerns more quickly.

The Common Cold and Allergies
Allergies and The Common Cold may have some similar symptoms to more mild cases of The Flu or COVID-19 that can be worrisome. It is common to experience a sore throat, congestion, runny nose, itchy throat, sinus discomfort, watery eyes, or maybe mild aches. You are not likely to have a fever or headache with The Common Cold or Allergies, but both are possible with The Flu or COVID-19.

COVID-19 and The Flu
The CDC reports that both viruses can cause some of the same symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, headache, moderate to severe body aches, sore throat, stuffy nose/sinuses.

If you’ve ever been spit on when talking with someone, then you know we have droplets that come out of our mouth when we breathe and talk. That’s how both The Flu and COVID-19 are spread when we spend time near someone who is infected, although COVID-19 is significantly more contagious than The Flu.

So how is COVID-19 different from The Flu?
While a fever is possible with either virus, it is more commonly associated with COVID-19 and not necessarily The Flu. COVID-19 patients also experience changes in their sense of smell and taste. It is also possible for someone to have COVID-19 with NO symptoms, unlike The Flu. After being exposed to The Flu, you would likely develop symptoms within a few days, whereas symptoms of COVID-19 could take up to 14 days (2 weeks) to show up. But it is still possible to spread it to someone else before you notice something is wrong, which is why our caregivers wear masks anytime they are near clients or quarantine after traveling.

Keeping Our Caregivers Safe and Healthy
At For Papa’s Sake, our goal is to keep our caregivers and clients safe during this pandemic and cold/flu season. Caregivers take precautions daily- taking their temperature before shifts, wearing masks in the client homes, frequent handwashing, sanitizing commonly used surfaces, and social distancing- and in the office, many tasks are now being done remotely.

If you or a loved one are concerned you may be developing symptoms of any illness, contact your doctor for evaluation. For more information about COVID-19, The Flu, The Common Cold or Allergies, visit www.cdc.gov.