Since March, hospitals and clinics have been facing a situation under extreme pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic has tapped out many resources and cases continue to rise. But as flu season approaches, how can you determine if your patient’s symptoms are COVID-19 or the flu? What are the differences and similarities? And, most importantly, what are the stand-out symptoms of the novel coronavirus you need to know.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Both COVID-19 and the Flu have similar symptoms with a few key differences. They can cause:
- Difficulty breathing
- Body aches
However, someone with COVID-19 can have additional symptoms including a loss of taste and smell as well as persistent pain or pressure in the chest.
Having the flu can feel like you’ve been run over by a truck, and for mild cases of COVID-19, it may be very similar. The things you need to be concerned about are the severe symptoms including the inability to breathe, pain in the chest, confusion, or even the inability to stay awake or wake up from sleep. If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should seek emergency medical help immediately.
Spreading the Viruses
With either virus, barring an emergency, the best thing anyone can do is stay home if they feel sick. However, one of the biggest challenges with COVID-19 is that it can be spread asymptomatically or low-symptomatically. This means people who have the virus but not symptoms, or no symptoms yet can also spread it without knowing. This is why safety is essential. Physical distancing, washing hands regularly, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and wearing protective gear are the best-known ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
While some businesses are in the position to allow employees to work remotely, that isn’t the case for all industries. And the medical industry, being at the front lines, is at a much greater risk. Adhering to safety protocol is essential, but so is the cooperation of the community. When hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19, other conditions can be missed or untreated and it begins a cycle. The medical community is encouraging the flu shot earlier in the season to help keep co-infections or cases of influenza at bay while fighting COVID-19.
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