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How To Tell The Difference Between The Cold, The Flu, And Covid

Nowadays, there are several common illnesses going around. 

We all know that colds come and go. 

Plus, the flu comes and goes with the seasons. 

And now, Covid has been added to the mix. 

A lot of people are saying that Covid is going to become seasonal as well. Plus, with the new Omicron variant being (thankfully) less severe in terms of symptom strength for those who’ve been vaccinated as opposed to some previous variants, it stands to reason that telling all of these different illnesses apart might get complicated. 

Well, CNN recently released a news report on exactly this topic. And some doctors and experts really clarified how to tell the difference between these three different conditions. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Early Signs Of A Cold, The Flu, And Covid Are Similar

Both the flu and Covid tend to cause symptoms like fatigue, body aches, fever, sore throat, vomiting, shortness of breath, and diarrhea. 

However, Covid is a bit different in the sense that it’s also usually accompanied by a headache and a dry cough. Some of the classic symptoms of Covid, a loss of taste and smell, are sometimes also present—though they’re being seen less and less with newer variants. 

For people who believe that they may be experiencing Covid symptoms, they should seek medical attention if they feel serious chest pain with a dry cough that gets worse and worse. 

Symptoms Of A Common Cold

Here are the most common cold symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Slight body aches
  • Mild headache
  • Sneezing
  • Low-grade fever
  • Generally feeling ‘unwell’

Symptoms Of The Flu

Here are the most common flu symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Feverish chills
  • Cough 
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

One thing that’s important to note is that not everyone who gets the flu will have a fever. 

Symptoms Of Covid

Here are the most common Covid symptoms:

  • Fever and chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

You should seek emergency medical care if you suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • An inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored lips, skin, or nail beds

It’s also highly recommended that if you experience any Covid symptoms, that you go and get a rapid test to determine if you may be infected. 


There you have it. 

All of the classic symptoms of the cold, flu, and Covid, and how to tell them apart. 

Now, armed with this knowledge, you should be able to go out into the world and be aware of what type of illness you may be suffering from if you start to not feel so good. 

Remember to take care of yourself, and always get tested if you think you may be experiencing a Covid infection.


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