How to tell the difference between COVID-19 and the flu

It's difficult to tell the difference because the symptoms of each virus are so similar, but the effects are very different

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Getting sick is never fun especially around the fall months, and sometimes it’s tough to spot the difference between a cold and the flu. When you mix in COVID- 19; that adds to the concern.

It’s difficult to tell the difference because the symptoms of each virus are so similar, but the effects are very different.

“People stay contagious for longer with COVID than they do with the flu so typically with flu you may contagious for about a week after getting it but with COVID that lasts up to 10 days to even two weeks,” said internal medicine physician at Baptist Golden Triangle Dr. William Rosenblatt.

Rosenblatt said the only way to be sure is to get tested.

” We do have rapid PCR tests that test for both flu and COVID. Both strains of the flu plus the COVID-19 strain and those turn around in about 20 minutes so it’s a nice way to tell which one if either that you have and that’s important because the treatment for each differs widely,” said Rosenblatt.

At Allegro Family Clinic; pharmacist manager Hank Norwood and clinic president Amy Bogue said they also offer tests for COVID-19 and the flu.

“You can have one or the other or both so often times at this season our providers will test you for COVID and flu at the same time because we want to know what it is and you can have both we’ve had pediatrics and adults diagnosed with both,” said Bogue.

Controversy over the COVID-19 vaccine is now having an effect on flu shot numbers.

“As a system between the clinics and the pharmacies we’re giving far less flu vaccines so for us as providers we’re really intrigued and interested to see how this flu season is going to hold and and a little nervous because we don’t want to flood our systems with so much,” said Bogue.

Once the results are in; if the diagnosis is COVID, quarantine is the first step of treatment. Over the counter medicines can help relieve symptoms of each of the viruses.

“Over the counter cough and cold we do the cough syrups the robitussins are very good the delsun cough syrup. We do the antihistamines, the zyrtec the claritin for the drainage.. For the flu part of course you’re always going to have body aches so we do the tylenol and ibuprofen but we also oscillocccinum which is a natural remedy we also use to treat the flu virus,” said Norwood.

If anyone feels they have flu or COVID-19 symptoms they’re encouraged to get tested for both viruses to be on the safe side.

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