Is it COVID or is it the flu? What you need to know

Is it COVID or is it the flu? What you need to know

So you have a cold. Fever. Sore throat. As we head into flu season, it can be hard to tell the difference -- even for doctors. “Both flu and COVID can cause headaches, they can both result in a cough, you can get fatigue and body aches," said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, an infectious disease specialist for McLaren Health in Flint. "It’s going to be extremely difficult to tell the difference just by looking at someone, and people are going to need lab tests to help figure it out. “To make it even more confusing, just because you have flu doesn’t mean you can’t have COVID,” Cunningham said. “Last March, some of the studies were saying up to 10% or 15% of people were infected with more than one virus at the same time." It’s easier to differentiate between allergies and coronavirus, he said. “Allergies typically involve a runny nose. You should not have a fever; you really should not have any body aches, and more importantly, if you take allergy medicine, there should be some improvement in your symptoms.” The biggest telltale symptom that indicates coronavirus: Loss of taste and smell, which doesn’t occur with flu or allergies, said Dr. Kristopher Brenner, a primary care physician with Spectrum Health. “When people report an abrupt loss of smell, when they can’t taste, you can bet dollars that it’s most likely coronavirus,” he said. “Another thing with coronavirus is diarrhea sometimes, which is a telltale sign.” And while both flu and ...
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