Coronavirus or common flu: How do I find out?
Here is how you can identify the similarities and differences.
1. It could be Covid-19, or just common ﬂu...
- Both cause fever, cough, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea
- Can be mild or severe, even fatal in rare cases
- Can result in pneumonia
Both spread through droplets released by an infected person while coughing, sneezing or talking
Flu can be spread by an infected person for several days before their symptoms appear; Covid-19 is believed to be spread in the same manner, but we don't yet know for sure
Neither virus is treatable with antibiotics, which only work on bacterial infections
Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalisation and support, such as mechanical ventilation.
Both may be prevented by frequent, thorough hand-washing, staying home when sick and limiting contact with infected people
2. Differences we know for sure
- Flu — Caused by any of several different types and strains of inﬂ uenza viruses
- Covid-19 — Caused by one virus, the novel 2019 coronavirus, now called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.
- Flu — A vaccine is available and effective to prevent some of the most dangerous types or to reduce the severity
- Covid-19 — No vaccine available at this time
- Flu — Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide
- Covid-19 — Over 97,000 cases worldwide
3. Not every person suffering from fever, cough has Covid-19 At present, Covid-19 is being seen only in those with history of travel to affected countries, such as China and Italy, or those who have come in contact with an infected individual
4. What should you do if you want to get checked for Covid-19
- Call Union health ministry’s 24X7 helpline number 01123978046. You can also mail your queries at [email protected]
- The district surveillance ofﬁcer will visit you shortly and, if chances of infection are high, you may be transported to designated hospital for test
- Govt has placed separate ambulances for transporting suspected cases. Use of public transport isn’t advised
- After taking samples, doctors posted at nodal hospitals may assess your physical health to decide whether hospitalisation is needed. Otherwise, you may be asked to stay isolated at home itself
- If the tests are positive, you may require to remain quarantined for at least 14 days, till recovery