Identifying the Difference between COVID-19 and Influenza

With the flu season coming up, it will become increasingly difficult to discern COVID-19 from Influenza.

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Julia Maton

These different products show the similarites between Influenza and COVID-19.

Winter is quickly approaching, which many recognize to be flu season. Under ordinary circumstances, the upcoming flu season would not cause much anxiety. Combined with the increasing number of Coronavirus cases, however, it may be more difficult to tell the difference between them this year. 

There are few key differences between Influenza and the Coronavirus, as pointed out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The most prominent being is a more severe impact of COVID-19 upon those who contract it, longer incubation periods, and a lack of vaccine. While the differences may help people identify their illness, the CDC draws attention to the various shared symptoms between the flu and COVID-19. For example, both can cause fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc. 

The differences are few and far between, so identifying one another from the symptoms alone may be quite difficult. Symptoms can cause immense confusion in navigating their sickness and deciding how officials should treat it. Nevertheless, people may treat this year’s flu season with increased caution compared to previous years. Symptoms may have to be taken more seriously by people to stay safe.

“I feel like, during the flu season, we can do a lot more,” junior Haleigh Zenoni said. “Nobody really worried about it, and it was just a second hand thought. Getting the flu is going to be a bigger deal than it normally would be. People are just going to think it is COVID-19.”

Hypersensitivity of the public to flu-like symptoms may impact the schedule of regular winter events, whereas some may have brushed it off in previous years. An increase in safety precautions has also made people wanting to lower their chances of contracting the flu to avoid the confusion of identifying symptoms as COVID-19 or influenza. 

“This is the first time where I have made it a point to get my flu shot right away,” teacher Stephen Rose said. “I think because I’m taking the vitamin D supplement this year, that is going to help reduce my chances as well.”

Telling the difference between influenza and COVID-19 may be a difficult task when attempted without testing. People are taking precautions to stay safe throughout this flu season more rigorously than in previous years. It may not be possible to predict how people will navigate through the upcoming months, but abiding by guidelines and attempting to stop the spread of both viruses is all one can do.