The flu and COVID-19 are both respiratory illnesses, but they’re caused by two totally different viruses. The flu is caused by an infection with an influenza virus, and COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

But what does this all mean? How are we supposed to tell the differences between the two once we start feeling under the weather this winter? Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut provides some helpful answers.

How Are the Flu and COVID-19 Similar?

In addition to both viruses being respiratory illnesses, both viruses are transmitted by contact, droplets and fomites, which are objects that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes and furniture.

As a result, the same public health measures, such as hand hygiene and good respiratory etiquette (coughing into your elbow or a tissue and immediately disposing of the tissue), are important actions all can take to prevent infection. We’ve listed some more health-safety measures to observe below.

Important Health-Safety Precautions

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay socially distant from others that don’t live in your home.
  • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water aren’t readily available.

How Do I Know Which Virus I Have?

If you start feeling under the weather and experiencing any of the symptoms that we’ve listed below, it’s important to get a COVID-19 test. Since the symptoms of the coronavirus and the flu are so similar, the best way to tell which one you have is by getting tested for the coronavirus.

If you don’t have access to a COVID-19 test, however, experts say that some of the tell-tale signs of COVID-19 are a loss of taste or smell and shortness of breath.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19 & the Flu

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Frequent headaches

We are passionate about your health, so don’t hesitate to visit our team at AFC Urgent Care Farragut if you have any questions or general medical concerns!