going deeper


By: Claude

What’s the Difference Between the Symptoms of the Flu, RSV and COVID-19?

As the holidays approach, and we begin to spend more time inside with one another, there is a greater possibility of catching a virus. Each year, viruses cause millions of people to become infected resulting in cold and flu-like symptoms. With the Flu, RSV and COVID-19 on the rise, it may be more difficult to tell the difference between the viruses. Ogechi Anyaoku, MD, an internal medicine physician with Adventist Medical Group, shares the facts to help differentiate the viruses from one another.

What are common flu symptoms?

Flu symptoms often start suddenly instead of overtime, unlike COVID-19 and RSV. Symptoms that occur in cases of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue, headache, cough and sore throat. Flu symptoms usually last about a week.

What are common COVID-19 symptoms?

COVID-19 is a virus that is continuously mutating to create new variants. With each variant, symptoms tend to vary. Common symptoms include a cough, sore throat, fever, headache, body aches and congestion. People with mild cases of COVID-19 tend to improve within a week, while others who experience long Covid may continue to have symptoms overtime.

What are common RSV symptoms?

More serious cases of RSV usually occur in infants and children. While adults can get RSV too, they are more likely to develop mild cold-like symptoms. Symptoms in children are often a runny nose, decrease in appetite, congestion, cough, sneezing, fever and wheezing and postnasal drip. Young infants may only show irritability, a decreased appetite and breathing difficulties. People with a mild case of RSV may recover within eight days, but more serious cases can linger for weeks. If you or your child are having trouble breathing, seek medical attention right away.

How can I tell these viruses apart?

If you are experiencing symptoms and aren’t sure which virus you may have, the best thing to do is get tested for the flu and COVID-19. Getting tested will help identify which virus you may have and keep the community safe by preventing the spread of illness. Call your doctor for guidance if your symptoms don’t improve and get worse overtime.

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