Covid vs Flu: How do I know which one I have?

Covid-19 and the Flu have many symptoms in common, so symptomatic people in Austin during Flu season may be wondering, “Do I have Covid or the Flu?”

However, though the symptoms of Covid-19 and the Flu can be very similar (see below), this form of coronavirus (Covid-19) passes between people more easily than the Flu and may cause more serious illness in certain people. Also, symptoms may take more time to appear with Covid-19 than they do with the Flu, and people may be contagious for longer.

With that said, some people have Covid-19 but are completely symptom free. Read on to learn more about the differences in the symptoms and when to get tested for each.

Covid vs Flu

Covid-19 Symptoms

Can show 2-14 days after exposure

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

*Please note that presence or lack of any of the above symptoms does not indicate whether or not are infected with Covid-19

source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

Flu Symptoms

Can show 1-4 after exposure

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills (some may never develop a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting & diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

*Please note that presence or lack of any of the above symptoms does not indicate whether or not are infected with influenza.

source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm

So, how do I know if I should get tested for Covid?

Yes, it's confusing and frustrating ... as you can see from the symptom lists above, there is very little about Covid and Flu symptoms that truly differ. Some say the loss of taste and smell is unique to Covid, however, the stuffy nose and congested sinuses of a Flu can also temporarily decrease sense of smell and taste. Furthermore, not everyone who has Covid will experience a loss of tase or smell, so it's important that if those senses are not affected, you don't automatically assume it must not be Covid.

With the lack of symptoms that are consistently unique to Covid versus the Flu, it makes sense to get tested for Covid to be totally sure. We can actually test for both Covid and Flu in the same nasal swab specimen, which is not a service many in the city of Austin can offer.

It may also make sense to get tested for both Covid and Flu because there are other illnesses that may also mimic them, like the Rhinovirus (one of the viruses associated with the "common cold") and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus - another cause of the "common cold" which can be severe especially in children).

You can book your Covid test here, or text/call 512-400-4033. If you'd like to get the combination Covid and Flu test, give us a call to let us know because that test option is not listed in our online booking page.

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Covid vs Flu: What are the symptoms in children?

Are the symptoms different in kids than in adults?

Coronavirus Symptoms

Symptoms in Kids

  • Vomiting & Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomachache
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Poor appetite or poor feeding, especially in babies under 1-year-old

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/children/symptoms.html

Flu Symptoms

Symptoms in Kids

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting & diarrhea

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/children.htm

Covid vs Flu Frequently Asked Questions

How long am I contagious with Covid vs Flu?

According to the CDC, you can spread both Covid-19 and the flu for at least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms. People with Covid-19 tend to be contagious for longer.

Flu contagious period after infection

In most cases, people are contagious for about 1 day before they show symptoms. Older children and adults are usually the most contagious in the first 3-4 days, but many remain contagious for about 7 days. Infants and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for even longer.

Covid-19 contagious period after infection

People are contagious for about 2 days before they show symptoms. They are typically contagious for at least 10 days after their first symptom. Even if someone shows no symptoms (asymptomatic) or their symptoms go away, they can be contagious for at least 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Who is High-Risk for Covid vs Flu?

The CDC has stated that older adults, people with certain underlying medical conditions (including infants and children), and pregnant people are high-risk for both Covid-19 and the Flu.

Flu

Young children are at higher risk of severe illness from flu. Click here to learn more about People at High Risk for Flu Complications.

Covid-19

School-aged children infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but severe complication of COVID-19.

Click here for more info from the CDC on People at Increased Risk of COVID-19 Severe Illness.

Do you do Covid Testing for Children? What about Flu Testing for Children?

Yes, we do! Again, we can actually test for both Covid and Flu in the same nasal swab specimen, which is not a service many in the city of Austin can offer... AND we can test children with this combo Covid-Flu test.

Many covid testing sites in Austin do not test children or do not test children under the age of 5. We have performed covid testing on children in Austin as young as 6 months old, and we perform these tests in the safety and convenience of your home. We understand how scary it can be when you think your little one may have Covid, and we also understand how difficult it can be to get them to a testing site.

With our service, there's no reason to take your child into a clinic with symptomatic patients, or even to have to load them up to go to a drive through covid testing site.

It may also make sense to get tested for both Covid and Flu because there are other illnesses that may also mimic them, like the Rhinovirus (one of the viruses associated with the "common cold") and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus - another cause of the "common cold" which can be severe especially in children).

You can book your Covid test here, or text/call 512-400-4033. If you'd like to get the combination Covid and Flu test, give us a call to let us know because that test option is not listed in our online booking page.

Page info source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm