Differences between Flu, Common Cold, and COVID-19


  • fever
  • cough
  • chill
  •  myalgia
  •  fatigue can appear in the flu, common cold, coronavirus, and even seasonal allergies.

So, what are the key differences between the flu, the common cold, and COVID-19?

Coronavirus, COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a known category of viruses, with the Covid-19 strain being the latest in this category. The severity of the symptoms it causes is well-documented, as seen in the global pandemic it has caused in recent years.

The nature of the virus has changed multiple times since its initial appearance due to continuous mutations. Each individual reacts differently to the virus, and symptoms may start mild, resembling those of a common cold, and progress to more severe symptoms, including high fever, intense cough, and significant difficulty breathing. These differences may be influenced by the individual’s health, age, and underlying conditions like heart disease, COPD, diabetes, elderly age, or immunocompromised status.

Runny nose and nasal secretions are not common, and the duration of symptoms can range from a few days to two weeks.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever with chills
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Severe headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell

Seasonal Flu: The winter season is the primary period for the appearance of the seasonal flu.

Symptoms start intensely with high fever, severe myalgia, intense headache, runny nose, and a shorter duration compared to COVID-19.

Common Symptoms of Seasonal Flu include:

  • High fever
  • Intense myalgia
  • Significant fatigue
  • Severe headache
  • Intense cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Prevention is crucial for the flu, achieved through vaccination in the fall. Especially for vulnerable groups (elderly, immunocompromised, pneumonia patients, pregnant women, and children), vaccination against the flu is essential. The vaccines have been in use for more than half a century, providing effective and safe protection. After vaccination, protection gradually decreases, prompting the recommendation for annual vaccination against the flu.

, Οικοιατρική

Common Cold

People often confuse the common cold with the flu or attribute it to the cold weather. However, the common cold and the flu are caused by different viruses. The common cold is a mild pathological condition, primarily affecting the upper respiratory system, mainly the nose and throat. If there is a fever, it is not high and is usually up to 38ºC. The duration of symptoms is 2 to 10 days, with the cough being the longest-lasting symptom. Treatment for the common cold is symptomatic, using pain relievers, antipyretics, and decongestants.

Common Symptoms of the Common Cold include:

  • Runny nose
  • Feeling of nasal congestion
  • Eye irritation
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever (not always)

The new COVID-19 coronavirus has posed significant challenges both to the general population and the medical community. Its characteristic features include high fever and breathing difficulty with lung involvement, unlike the common cold and flu, which more commonly present with nasal congestion.

In any case, when symptoms are intense and disruptive, it is important to inform your doctor and seek medical advice.


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