Do I have COVID-19 or influenza? Here’s how to discern

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Do I have COVID-19 or influenza? Here's how to discern - We The World
Image by UNITED NATIONS COVID-19 RESPONSE via Unsplash

Life amidst a pandemic is full of uncertainties. There are several stories of harrowing experiences by people around the world. People are dying in a blink.

There are numerous issues cropping up in our societies in relation to the pandemic. The most pertinent being, people treating COVID-19 positive patients as untouchables in many communities.

The crux of the problem is thus far deeper than just physiological illness. COVID-19 is a legit name for a nightmare in our times. Social stigma and psychological impact is something that cannot be neglected.

I know many people who keep telling me that they are afraid to go for a COVID-19 test for numerous reasons. In India especially, many people are infected with the seasonal flu.

With the ongoing pandemic, many are utterly stressed for the fear of being diagnosed with COVID-19 if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, thanks to the confusing similarities between the.

Moreover, starting from the end of September until early March, India experiences the onset of flu season. And this year, the flu season is set to brush with the pandemic.

This is already a pretty big issue, people are getting increasingly confused when to go for a COVID-19 test since many symptoms like a new cough, runny nose, loss of smell, and more are showing up in a time of the flu season when a whole pandemic is ongoing.

Recently, I faced a similar condition. I experienced mild fever, body ache, and extreme weakness. It was then that I consulted our physician and took some medicines.

Thankfully I recovered in two-three days and I am writing this article to spread some awareness regarding the issue. I did not go for a COVID-19 test which is why I cannot say for sure if I had COVID-19.

Hopefully not, because my fever didn’t last long, and I did not have shortness of breath, constant cough and so on and COVID-19 teds to get worse in a few days after the initial symptoms persist. But if it was an asymptomatic case, I will not know.

I contacted our homeopathic family physician and urged him to point out some basic differences between COVID-19 and the influenza virus.

I am giving below the clear guidelines provided by doctor B. P. Shrivastav, on whether the symptoms are of COVID-19 or Influenza.

The basic difference between COVID 19 and Influenza:

InfluenzaCOVID-19
Influenza itself is a virusCOVID-19 is the name of a disease
Influenza virus are of four typesThere’s no such distinction of COVID-19 virus
A, and B type of Influenza virus are responsible for causing flu in humansSARS COVI-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19
Flu is a contagious, infectious respiratory illnessCOVID-19 is also an infectious and contagious illness
Influenza A and B cause seasonal flu and hence called a seasonal epidemicCOVID-19 is a novel disease caused by the SARS-COVI-2 and is a pandemic
Flu has shorter incubation periodCOVID-19 has relatively longer incubation – 5 to 12 days
Flu is not severe or fatal. The mortality rate is very very lowCOVID-19 is severe and fatal if untreated. Around 4% of infected are at risk of death
Influenza is spread via respiratory droplets and touchCOVID-19 is also spread via respiratory droplets, touch, close contact, and even surface contact
Fever, chills, body ache, muscle ache, cough, congested nose, runny nose, sneezing, headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, sore throat, and sometimes difficulty in breathing are flu symptomsFever, dry cough, tiredness, body ache, sore throat, conjunctivitis, eye infections, headache, diarrhea, loss of taste, loss of smell, skin rashes, discoloration of toes, or nails are symptoms of COVID-19
Severe symptoms are very uncommon for people suffering from fluSevere symptoms include difficulty in breathing, chest pain, tightness of chest, loss of speech may accompany COVID-19 in patients.
Chart prepared in consultation with DR. B.P Srivastava, MD (Hom), MBA (HM), FF (Hom) teaches in the Department of Case Taking & Repertory at the National Institute of Homoeopathy under the Ministry of AYUSH, (Govt. Of India).

Some frequently asked questions about the novel COVID-19 disease

Q: Is the coronavirus disease more severe than the flu?

A: As mentioned earlier, flu is less severe than COVID-19. The novel coronavirus is still under observation and is changing its form and effect on humans. Hence, of late the COVID 19 is definitely more severe as of now.

Q: What is the mortality rate of the corona virus disease versus influenza?

A: The mortality rate of COVID-19 is 4% compared to 0.1% in the case of influenza. However, this is a crude calculation and the mortality rate highly depends on the access to quality health care and in the case of COVID-19, it has been documented to vary from country-to-country.

For instance, when it comes to COVID-19 mortality rate in India, the nation has fared well in terms of the US to prevent deaths from the disease.

Q: Is headache a common symptom of the coronavirus disease?

A: In most cases, headache is a symptom of the disease but that should not be considered as the only indication.

To date, headache has been reported in the early and later phases of the disease, with the later phase headache often tipping a worsening illness.

In patients with migraine, headache has been reported to have begun prior to the more traditional COVID-19 symptoms had kicked in, Healthline noted. One study showed, 11-34 percent of people hospitalized with COVID-19 had headache as a symptom.

Q: Which are the first symptoms of the coronavirus disease?

A: Provided the infection in a person is not asymptomatic one (in which case there will be no symptom at all), a person infected with COVID-19 will begin with mild symptoms ranging from headache, fever, sore throat, dry cough, body ache, which will gradually increase with time, if the disease is confirmed.

Severe symptoms of the disease are aggravated versions of the mild symptoms plus pneumonia, loss of orientation, confusion, difficulty in breathing, chest pressure, and pain.

Q: Does drinking lots of water help flush out COVID-19?

A: Drinking enough water is just the habit you must develop COVID-19 or no-COVID-19. But when it comes to the idea of ‘flushing out’ the virus from your body by drinking lots of water, you’ve got to be a bit more realistic.

WHO says, there is no evidence drinking a lot of water, or stomach acids can flush out COVID-19.

Q: Can Covid 19 cause septic shock?

A: In severe cases coronavirus disease may cause septic shock.

Q: Can Covid 19 spread through food?

A: Medical professionals have reinstated that the virus does not spread through food or food packaging. It is a droplet borne infection and spread through direct contact or through infected droplets.

There are lots of articles and news pieces available in plenty in the internet. Often people tend to get confused as to what to read and what not.

I have faced a similar dilemma, so after reading a lot of articles (from very credible sources) and in consultation with a doctor, I have cropped up the above article so that it might be of help to lost readers.

I repeat, do not treat this information as a substitute for a medical check-up. An informed person is wise but the information does not account to remedy.

Stay safe, drink lots of warm fluids, love one another, take good care of near and dear ones, and please do not regard an infected person as a social outcast.

When a pandemic blows out of proportion, only our collective goodwill can save us. Most importantly follow the guidelines given out by the government and never take your health for granted.

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