The Difference Between the Flu and COVID-19

Mar 23, 2022

CommunityLab™ Provides COVID-19 Testing in Asheville, NC

Cold and flu season is once again upon us, and COVID-19 is another contagious illness that’s still in the mix this year. The flu (also referred to as influenza) and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, but both are easily spread among the population and produce similar symptoms. CommunityLab™ provides COVID-19 testing in Asheville, NC. Read on to learn more about both types of contagious respiratory illnesses, including helpful information for recognizing their symptoms, about how they’re treated, and what you can do to protect yourself and loved ones from severe illness. Reach out to us and schedule a testing appointment today!

How Do COVID-19 Symptoms Differ From Flu Symptoms?

While COVID-19 and the flu might seem like similar illnesses on the surface, they are caused by different viruses and affect people very differently. The flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses, while the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19. Both illnesses can be spread by people in close contact, which is why most experts suggest social distancing when in public. These viruses are typically spread through respiratory droplets released into the air when people talk, sneeze, or cough in proximity to others or after people touch surfaces after sneezing or coughing that others then touch.

Some people with the flu or COVID-19 may not experience any signs of illness at all, while others may experience mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms of the flu usually appear within four days of exposure, while symptoms of COVID-19 can take up to 3-5 days, with people being contagious for up to two weeks. Common flu and COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (usually associated with COVID-19)
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell (usually associated with COVID-19)

What Should I Do If I Experience Flu or COVID-19 Symptoms?

If you experience any symptoms of the flu or COVID-19, you should contact your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. COVID-19 testing may be required to confirm the illness. CommunityLab™ offers COVID-19 testing in Asheville, NC, including the following types:

What Are Possible Treatments for the Flu and COVID-19?

Because the flu has been around a lot longer than COVID-19, doctors are more knowledgeable about treating and preventing it. Many people with the flu or a mild case of COVID-19 may get better on their own with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications. However, more severe cases of the flu or COVID-19 may require hospitalization and more advanced treatment methods. The flu is usually treated with antiviral drugs that have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The FDA has approved one drug so far to treat COVID-19 called remdesivir (Veklury®).

How Can You Avoid Getting COVID-19 and the Flu This Year?

Practicing healthy hygiene habits, wearing a face mask in public, avoiding close contact with others at large events, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces remain among the best ways to prevent getting ill this cold and flu season. Consider getting vaccinated to help prevent the spread of influenza and COVID-19 in your community. Different FDA-approved vaccines have been developed to prevent both illnesses, although variants keep popping up and additional booster shots may be required in the future.

While you can get either contagious respiratory illness even if vaccinated, your risks are much lower for severe complications. Severe complications from the flu or COVID-19 include pneumonia, stroke, heart attack, heart or brain inflammation, organ failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS), blood clots, secondary infections, sepsis, and death.

Schedule an Appointment for COVID-19 Testing Today

CommunityLab™ is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. We’re dedicated to providing quick turnaround times at high-capacity volumes. In many cases, we have same-day and curbside appointments available for COVID-19 testing in Asheville, NC. Contact us to schedule an appointment!