Understanding the Differences Between COVID-19 and Influenza

Understanding the Differences Between COVID-19 and Influenza

The year 2020 has been full of uncertainties. The world saw some of the worst and dull moments of human history. The whole world stopped due to the spread of a virus called COVID-19. With the spread of the virus, there was a spread of fear and false information. The virus has very similar signs and symptoms of influenza because they belong to the same family. However, there are a lot of visible differences. If you want to learn more about these differences, here is all you need to know; 

Symptoms 

It is very easy to get confused between flu and COVID as they are very similar in symptoms. Both of them manifest as fever, cough, body ache, shortness of breath, malaise, weakness, and fatigue. Two different viruses cause COVID and flu. COVID is caused by the coronavirus, whereas flu is called influenza virus. Some symptoms occur only in COVID, such as loss of taste or smell, red eyes, and skin rash (aka COVID toes) that are not seen in flu. 

Contagiousness and Mortality 

Both spread through droplets and are incredibly contagious. The data shows that more people have died from COVID in the United States since December 2019 than from influenza in the last five years. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that none of us had any prior immunity to. Influenza is infectious and causes epidemics every year, but it is not nearly as contagious as COVID. Secondly, influenza vaccines have been around for many years, and doses are administered every year, so we all have some level of pre-existing immunity to it. 

Complications

These include Pneumonia, Respiratory failure, Acute respiratory distress syndrome (fluid in the lungs), Sepsis, Cardiac injury (for example, heart attacks and stroke), Multiple-organ failure (respiratory failure, kidney failure, shock). Also, worsening chronic medical conditions (involving the lungs, heart, or nervous system or diabetes), Inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues are common to both flu and COVID. Secondary bacterial infections (infections that occur in people who have already been infected with flu or COVID-19) are also on this list. However, blood clots tend to occur more frequently in COVID than flu.  

Prevention 

Both the viruses can be prevented by washing hands frequently, wearing masks when going out, and keeping a distance from others in crowded places. For influenza, you need to get the vaccine every year, preferably in October. Vaccines for covid are being rolled out in many parts of the world and will hopefully be administered to enough people in a short time, but in the meantime, it is essential to follow the social distancing precautions. People with obesity, diabetes, and other pre-existing conditions are at a high risk of getting both these viruses, and therefore, it is essential to take medications on time, eat healthy, exercise whenever possible. It is also necessary to know that our immunity is also profoundly affected by our mental state, and therefore it is vital to take care of our emotional needs and engage in activities that lower our stress levels.

 

COVID-19 and influenza are very different in terms of their complications and aftermaths too. There is always confusion between these, which cause fear among people, or at times, people tend to ignore them. So it is still better to get tested if you spot the signs. Stay home and follow all the precautions to keep you and yourself safe from the virus that has killed many worldwide. Apart from that, make sure that you and your family have a good health insurance policy quote that had got you covered in times of need. Take care, and stay safe!