The COVID-19 was started in late 2019 in China and spread worldwide within a few months. Some common signs of this disease are cough, runny nose, fever, etc. However, these symptoms seem to be the same for the common cold, the flu, etc.

The question is—how do you know if you have the flu or the coronavirus? Read on to understand the symptoms, treatments, and prevention.


Also called COVID-19, the coronavirus is a newly discovered virus that can cause mild symptoms similar to that of the common cold. However, some patients may experience severe illness. These include people suffering from heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc.

The symptoms of the COVID-19 may include-

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble breathing
  • Aches & pain

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), children don’t appear to be at higher risks of the coronavirus than adults. While some children have been found positive with the COVID-19, the number of adult patients is more. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) says about 15 percent of the coronavirus cases are severe while 5 percent are in the critical stage. Patients belong to the latter category have difficulty breathing, and may require ventilators.


Also known as influenza, flu is a respiratory illness, which is caused by a virus that attacks the throat, nose, etc. It usually lasts for 5 to 7 days.

The common symptoms of flu are-

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Aches & pain

However, not every patient experiences fever. This usually happens in elderly people or individuals with weak immune systems.

Moreover, in children patients, vomiting and diarrhea are common.

Most patients don’t require any potential treatment for the flu. Getting plenty of rest can help promote wellness. However, medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen can also provide relief.

It’s important to note that antibiotics don’t work for viral infections. Usually, you need to let them complete their course. However, if your condition gets worse, contact a licensed doctor to seek professional advice for the flu.

How Are COVID-19 & Flu Transmitted?

Both the coronavirus and the flu are transmitted with close contact between people. The viruses pass from infected people to healthy people through respiratory droplets, usually during sneezing or coughing.

The coronavirus can survive on different surfaces for hours. The WHO says that it’s not certain how long the COVID-19 survive on surfaces. Research suggests that the virus may live on plastic & stainless steel for up to 72 hours, on cardboard for less than 24 hours, and on copper for less than 4 hours.

When it comes to the coronavirus transmission, the distance between an infected person and a healthy person matters. The CDC says that the virus can be transmitted to individuals who are less than 6 feet away. Thus, it’s important to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone who is sneezing or coughing to protect yourself from the COVID-19.

What about the speed of transmission? Flu symptoms appear sooner. The typical time for flu symptoms to show up is one to four days while the COVID-19 symptoms can be seen between 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Flu transmission is common among adults and children. However, based on the early findings, adults are more likely to pass the coronavirus onto children. Children are less likely to develop COVID-19 symptoms.

Treating Flu & Coronavirus

There’s no potential treatment available for the COVID-19. However, scientists worldwide are working hard to find medical treatments to fight the coronavirus. In more severe cases, patients may require mechanical ventilation to ease the breathing process.

Usually, for flu, there’s no treatment required. All you need is to take complete rest, and the symptoms will disappear in a few days. However, your doctor may prescribe you antiviral drugs, which can provide you relief. The drugs are effective in fighting the virus, and reducing how long the symptoms last.


The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated every year. However, the following tips will also work to keep yourself safe and curb the spread of the virus-

  • Avoid close contact with individuals who are ill.
  • When you are sick, stay at home and avoid meeting anyone.
  • Cover your nose and mouth to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Wash your hands regularly to protect yourself from germs
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth

Here’s the WHO advice for the public to stay protected from the COVID-19

  • Clean hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You can also use an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill the viruses.
  • Maintain at least 1-meter distance from individuals who are coughing or sneezing to avoid getting the viruses passed through respiratory droplets.
  • Don’t go to crowded places.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
  • Practice social distancing. Stay at home even if you experience minor symptoms such as fever, cough, headache, etc.
  • If you notice fever, cough, difficulty breathing or other symptoms, seek professional advice immediately.
  • Stay updated with the latest information on the COVID-19 from trusted sources.

Getting Medical Advice During The COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19, visiting a clinic is full of risks. However, telemedicine services can help you get medical advice without leaving your home. Here’s the complete process-

  • Sign up an account
  • See a licensed doctor online
  • Get your PDF prescription letter in the email instantly

Also Read- How Crucial is The Role of Telemedicine Amid The COVID-19 Spread?

Why should you opt for telemedicine services over in-clinic services? Here are the major advantages-

  • Get remote medical care to achieve the social distancing goal.
  • Save time, and get professional advice instantly. You can talk to the doctor through a HIPAA-compliant platform.
  • Receive high-quality care from licensed, professional doctors
  • Increase access to medical services while overcoming the potential barriers associated with in-clinic services.

The Takeaway

The flu and the coronavirus are respiratory illnesses. Despite having similar symptoms, they are different. The flu symptoms take 1-4 days to appear while the COVID-19 symptoms take longer. Most people experience COVID-19 symptoms from 2 to 14 days after exposure.

Most patients don’t require any treatment for the flu. Staying at home and taking complete rest can help promote wellness. However, some doctors recommend acetaminophen and ibuprofen to ease the symptoms.

To date, there’s no potential treatment available for the COVID-19. Social distancing is the only way to keep yourself protected from the coronavirus. Stay at home and avoid close contact with anyone who is sneezing or coughing. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to kill germs. In case you experience dry cough, fever, trouble breathing, or other COVID-19 symptoms, seek medical advice immediately.