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How can you distinguish between a cold, the flu, and COVID-19?

Understanding the Differences in Symptoms and Testing Protocols for Accurate Diagnosis.

By Dawn WarburtonPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
How can you distinguish between a cold, the flu, and COVID-19?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Although winter is coming to an end, which typically marks the end of the cold and flu season, we now have the added challenge of COVID-19. We must take precautions to safeguard ourselves from these viruses and avoid overwhelming hospital systems. One crucial step is to get tested if you experience any symptoms, no matter how minor they may seem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends testing for COVID-19 and influenza as soon as possible.

The latest data from the CDC highlights that the number of states with high flu activity has more than doubled over the past week. It's critical to remember that hospitals are already struggling due to the pandemic, so contracting the flu can worsen the situation. Therefore, to protect ourselves and our healthcare systems, it's essential to comprehend the risk factors associated with COVID-19 and influenza and receive the appropriate vaccines when available.

Dr. John Torres, NBC News Senior Medical Correspondent, cautions against assuming that a respiratory illness is only the flu. COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms, making it difficult to tell them apart. Therefore, isolating yourself and getting tested if you experience any symptoms is best.

The CDC also recommends taking preventive measures, such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, frequently washing your hands, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These actions can help reduce the risk of catching either respiratory illness.

Vaccination for influenza is also vital, particularly for children more vulnerable to the virus. For example, vaccination can prevent severe illness and lower the chances of hospitalization, keeping hospital systems from reaching maximum capacity.

In these unprecedented times, prevention is critical. Focusing on preventive measures protects us individually and collectively and helps keep our entire community safe in case of an outbreak. Therefore, practicing safety measures this winter is essential to stay healthy throughout the year. Let's work together to combat COVID-19 and influenza and keep ourselves and our communities healthy.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has affected millions of people worldwide. Preventing its spread is crucial to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. Here are some practical ways to avoid COVID-19:

• Get Vaccinated: Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent COVID-19. Vaccines have been developed and authorized for emergency use to provide protection against the virus. Vaccines are safe and highly effective, reducing the risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

• Wear a Mask: Wearing a mask can significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19. Masks help prevent respiratory droplets from spreading from person to person, which is a primary mode of transmission for COVID-19. Make sure to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth correctly.

• Practice Social Distancing: Social distancing involves maintaining a safe distance of at least 6 feet from other people to avoid close contact. This is especially important in crowded places or around people not in your household.

• Wash Your Hands Frequently: Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

• Avoid Crowded Places: The risk of contracting COVID-19 is higher in crowded places where it's challenging to practice social distancing. Avoid large gatherings and events that draw significant crowds.

• Stay Home if You're Sick: If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with the virus, stay home and isolate yourself. Get tested and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

• Clean and Disinfect Surfaces: COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for several hours or even days. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly to reduce the risk of infection.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 requires collective efforts from everyone. Following these preventive measures can protect ourselves and our communities from the virus.


About the Creator

Dawn Warburton

Hi! I'm Dawn, a consumer and disability advocate currently pursuing a doctorate in Organizational Leadership. I advocate to empower parents and consumers to make informed decisions by sharing current research and leading practices.

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