Flu or COVID-19? Do You Know The Key Identifiers in Your Patients?

It’s not a secret that hospitals and clinics have been overwhelmed since March with cases of COVID-19. And, as flu season returns and many areas will experience a new wave of the novel coronavirus, healthcare professionals must understand how to know the difference between the two viruses. Here is a closer look at the signs and symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.

Signs and Symptoms

COVID-19 and the Flu have similar symptoms with a few differences. Either virus can cause:

  • Fever or feverish feeling
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Headaches

Someone experiencing a COVID-19 infection can also have additional symptoms such as the loss of taste and smell and pain or pressure in the chest.

Spotting the Differences

Many people describe flu symptoms as being run over by a truck. Mild cases of COVID-19 can be very similar. Healthcare professionals should be concerned about severe symptoms such as the inability to breathe, chest pains, confusion, or even the inability to stay awake or wake up. If a patient is experiencing any of these symptoms, emergency medical treatment is necessary immediately.

Stopping the Spread

Unless there is an emergency featuring the most severe symptoms, the best thing anyone can do is stay home if they feel sick. However, COVID-19 can be spread asymptomatically or low-symptomatically. This means people who have the virus but no symptoms can also infect others. Physical distancing will be critical to stopping the spread if someone feels ill.

Prevention Infection

While your team needs to be prepared for both flu and COVID-19 cases moving forward, there should also be a major focus on prevention. Adhering to safety protocol in the healthcare workplace is essential, as is cooperation in the community. Washing hands regularly, wiping down frequently touched surfaces, and wearing masks will help reduce infections. The medical community is also encouraging the flu shot earlier this season to keep co-infections or flu cases at bay while fighting COVID-19.

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