The differences between Covid-19 and a simple cold


In the middle of the cold season you have the feeling of getting sick. The first symptoms creep in and in Corona’s time the question immediately arises: am I infected or is it “just” the flu? Many symptoms are the same and yet the diseases differ accordingly. We will explain how you can know if you have been infected with Covid-19, a simple cold or if you have caught the flu.

Regardless of whether it is a cold, flu or crown – all diseases can have varying degrees of severity. Where the flu often brings pain in the limbs, however, the crown is sometimes lost Sense of taste or smell.

Cold, flu or corona – these symptoms make a difference

Symptom of Covid-19 (Coronavirus):

How do i recognize a coronavirus infection? The Robert Koch Institute lists some typical symptoms of Covid 19 disease. These include:

  • Hufig: Cough (45%) and fever (38%)
  • Often: Runny nose (20%)
  • Sometimes: Temporary impairment or loss of smell and / or taste (15%)
  • Rare: Pneumonia (3%), Headache and body aches, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes sore throat and shortness of breath

In one evaluation, however, points out that there is also an important difference when it comes to the main symptom of cough: with a corona infection, a dry cough occurs in most cases. Cough with sputum, on the other hand, is more indicative of a cold. However, in case of flu, a dry cough can also occur.

Flu symptoms:

So there is some overlap with typical flu symptoms. Especially noticeable: cough, fever, and runny nose occur frequently or at least often with both diseases.

  • Hufig: sudden fever
  • Often: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, runny nose
  • Sometimes: Feeling of weakness, sweating, headache and muscle aches

Cold symptoms (flu-like infection):

A flu-like infection, colloquially known as a “cold”, must be clearly differentiated from the flu. Here the symptoms are mostly harmless, but there are parallels.

  • Hufig: Sore throat, cough, sneezing, runny nose, hoarseness
  • Often: Tiredness, headache
  • Rare: Fever: rising slowly, often only for a short time

Speed ​​of Spread: Influence comes faster than Corona

According to the WHO, there are differences in Velocity of propagationInfluenza has a shorter incubation period between infection and the development of the first symptoms, and infections in the chains of infection occur more rapidly. With Covid-19, this interval is around 5-6 days, with the flu only between 1 and 3 days. This means that the flu can spread faster than Covid-19. At the same time, however, this also means that Covid-19 can spread unnoticed for a longer time due to the longer incubation period.

Additionally, the flu often infects other people even before symptoms develop. In the case of Covid-19, transmissions from 24 to 48 hours before the onset of symptoms are known, but according to the current state of knowledge, unlike the flu, they are rare and hardly play a role in the spread.

Another important feature is that Contagion rate. According to data from the WHO, the new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 is transmitted on average to two or two and a half people from an infected person, and therefore to more than with the flu.

Children of the risk group: more susceptible to the flu than to the crown

Due to the uncertain data situation, a comparison in this aspect is only possible to a limited extent, according to WHO. What is certain, however, is that influenza viruses in particular are transmitted through children: “Children are important determinants of the transmission of the influenza virus in the community“According to the WHO. Children also play an important role in the transmission of Covid-19:”In the studies, the infection rate of the children was similar to or higher than that of the adult index cases“writes that Robert Koch Institute.

However, children with Covid-19 rarely develop a severe course of the disease, unlike a flu infection. Pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems are additional risk groups for severe flu. According to the current state of knowledge, children and pregnant women are not included in Covid-19.

Relatively serious and life-threatening diseases occur more frequently with Covid-19 than with the flu. Of the WHO According to 80% of people infected with corona, they will recover again without medical attention in the hospital: however, one in five sufferers develop severe respiratory problems due to an infection. The death rate is also likely higher than the normal seasonal flu epidemic, but exact details can hardly be given at the moment.

This is how the flu spreads

There are also similarities in the transmission of viruses: both pathogens are mainly transmitted via droplets, for example when talking, singing or coughing.

“The primary route of transmission for SARS-CoV-2 is the respiratory absorption of liquid particles containing viruses that occur when breathing, coughing, talking or sneezing,” writes the Robert Koch Institute. Indoors, alerts are also issued against coronavirus infection via aerosols.

Influenza viruses are also often transmitted via smear infection through direct contact with an infected person or by touching contaminated objects. The Federal Center for Health Education writes: “Viruses are also transmitted by hand if they have come into contact with secretions containing viruses.”

Vaccination against influenza: also possible against the crown?

It is also important to note the difference between treatment and prevention options. While there are approved vaccines against influenza viruses, there has been a global rush for a corona vaccine for months. In Germany, a team of researchers has also been able to obtain protective antibodies, but there is still a long way to go before obtaining a vaccine.

In late August, the RKI issued a prognosis if there was an antidote across the European Union: “Based on current knowledge, it is expected that one or more Covid-19 vaccines will be approved in the European Union by early 2021 […] On the other hand, there are both protective vaccinations and approved antiviral drugs against influenza.

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