Symptoms of Corona, Cold & Flu • Differences

There are different pathogens behind a rather harmless cold, a real flu and COVID-19. Even so, the symptoms are often very similar. Find out here which symptoms are typical for each disease, how you can protect yourself and what you should do in the event of infection.

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Cold or corona: how do the symptoms differ?

With the normal cold, there is hardly any fever

With a cold, typical symptoms become noticeable about two to seven days after infection. Above all, this includes:

In contrast to the flu, those affected have little or no fever. If the symptoms of the common cold subside after two to three days, this indicates an uncomplicated flu-like infection. Most of the symptoms will usually have subsided after about a week. Only the cough can sometimes persist for several weeks.

What is different about the real flu?

There is no uniform symptom pattern for real flu (influenza). The range extends from with few symptoms to severe courses. The symptoms of the flu can be very similar to those of a cold. Compared to the flu-like infection, however, the flu typically begins very suddenly with:

The symptoms usually last seven to 14 days. A general feeling of weakness and loss of appetite can persist for a few more weeks. Elderly people and patients in poor health are at increased risk of complications.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

After infection with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the first symptoms of the disease can become noticeable after about four to six days. Above all, are typical

  • To cough,
  • Fever and
  • Sniffles.

About a fifth of all sick people also report disorders of the sense of smell and taste. In addition, gastrointestinal complaints such as vomiting or nausea can occur. Other possible symptoms are skin rashes, swelling of the lymph nodes and conjunctivitis.

With the new Corona variants, however, the symptoms also seem to change slightly. Study results indicate that night sweats were observed more frequently with the new Omikron variant.

However, the courses of COVID-19 disease vary greatly. Some people develop no symptoms, others develop severe courses that can lead to lung or organ failure.

Cold, flu or COVID-19? Clarity through laboratory diagnosis

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose, it makes sense to stay at home and avoid contact – including with (vaccinated) household members. A COVID-19 self-test can provide an indication of a possible corona infection, but only a PCR laboratory test will provide clarity. Contact your doctor’s office and follow the doctor’s instructions.

Possible complications from cold, flu, and COVID-19

Unlike the common cold, which is usually mild, the real flu and an infection with the coronavirus can have serious consequences such as pneumonia. In principle, complications are possible at any age, but people with underlying diseases (such as cardiovascular diseases) or immune deficiencies are particularly at risk.

The dangerous thing about COVID-19 is that the disease is new and there is a lack of basic immunity in the population. In addition to the lungs, the virus also affects other organs (for example, blood clotting and the nervous system). An infection can lead to long-term health consequences (“Long Covid”). Constant exhaustion and breathing difficulties, but also metabolic diseases and type 2 diabetes are possible consequences.

This is how you can protect yourself against respiratory diseases

Influenza, colds and COVID-19 spread via viruses that are transmitted by airborne droplets or by smear infection (e.g. touching contaminated objects). Therefore it is recommended:

  • Keep a distance (at least 1.5 meters)
  • Frequent and thorough hand washing
  • Regular thorough ventilation (especially in shared interiors such as open-plan offices)

Vaccinations also offer effective protection against flu and COVID-19. The STIKO recommends vaccination against COVID-19 for all adults and children from the age of 12 as well as children between the ages of 5 and 11 with previous illnesses. In addition, adults aged 18 and over are advised to have a booster vaccination after about 3 months.

The flu vaccination is especially recommended for people who are chronically ill, such as asthma or COPD patients, as well as seniors. Relatives of chronically ill children should also be vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection.

Corona vaccination: who can be vaccinated and who cannot?

Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by

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