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Is It the Flu or COVID-19?

The flu and COVID-19 share some symptom similarities, but there are also a few differences. Below is a reference chart with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from September 2020, as information continues to evolve about COVID-19. Not all people experience all symptoms of both the flu and COVID-19.

Both Flu & COVID-19 COVID-19 Flu
Fever or feeling feverish/chills Symptoms typically appear 5 days after infection, but can be as soon as 2 days and as long as 14 days Symptoms typically appear 1-4 days after infection
Headache Loss of taste Not urinating*
Cough Loss of smell Persistent chest or abdominal pain*
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath* Nausea or vomiting Persistent dizziness or confusion*
Fatigue Diarrhea Seizures*
Sore throat New confusion* Severe weakness*
Runny or stuffy nose Bluish lips or face* Cough or fever that get better, then worse*
Muscle pain or body aches Chest pain or pressure* Worsening of chronic conditions*
Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than adults Inability to stay awake*  

Both Flu & COVID-19

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath*
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children than adults

COVID-19

  • Symptoms typically appear 5 days after infection, but can be as soon as 2 days and as long as 14 days
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • New confusion*
  • Bluish lips or face*
  • Chest pain or pressure*
  • Inability to stay awake*

Flu

  • Symptoms typically appear 1-4 days after infection
  • Not urinating*
  • Persistent chest or abdominal pain*
  • Persistent dizziness or confusion*
  • Seizures*
  • Severe weakness*
  • Cough or fever that get better, then worse*
  • Worsening of chronic conditions*

*Seek emergency care

The flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, and the difference can be undetectable by symptoms alone. Seek a test to confirm a diagnosis. Please don’t delay care.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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