Differences between COVID and the flu

COVID-19 and the flu share many similarities, but it’s important to understand the key differences between the two with flu season rapidly approaching. Both viruses are highly contagious, and they are spread through respiratory droplets that are inhaled by a nearby person through their nose or mouth. Both viruses are known to have potential complications that may require hospitalization. AFC Urgent Care Stoneham has all the information you may need to stay safe during the second wave of COVID and the beginning of flu season.

Information about the flu

The flu affects millions of people per year. “Flu season” is considered the months in fall and winter, and sometimes the spring. Flu season starts in November and typically peaks in January. So far, the CDC estimates that between 39 million to 56 million people have been infected with the flu for the 2019-2020 season. The best way to prevent yourself from getting the flu is by getting an annual flu shot. The flu shot protects against the four strains of the influenza virus and lasts for the duration of flu season. If you still catch the flu even after getting the vaccine, your symptoms will be much less severe than without the vaccine. Symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat

If your symptoms show up at one time, you likely have the flu. Signs of the flu typically show 1 to 3 days after exposure and will hit you all at once. It is possible to be contagious for seven days after getting the flu. Please wash your hands frequently, and avoid close contact with others to keep them protected.

Information about COVID-19

Since the end of 2019, COVID has infected over 57 million people worldwide. It is possible to have COVID and the flu simultaneously, so be sure to take all precautions this flu season. There is currently no vaccine for COVID. The best practices to follow include wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, avoid close contact with others by maintaining a distance of 6 feet and washing your hands frequently. All of these measures will help protect you from COVID and the flu. Many cases of COVID are asymptomatic, so, without symptoms, the only way to know if you have COVID is by getting tested. AFC Urgent Care Stoneham offers COVID-19 testing. Symptoms of COVID include:

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Loss of taste or smell

If you experience symptoms with COVID, they may show up two to ten days after initial exposure, at any capacity. Experiencing a loss of taste or smell is only related to COVID, so this symptom is a clear indication it is not flu-related. Some cases of COVID can become severe and require hospitalization, so it is important to do your part and help prevent the spread. AFC Urgent Care Stoneham is here to provide you with all of the information you may need related to COVID or the flu. Visit our clinic, or call us any time at 781-279-4000.