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Do I Have COVID-19, the Flu, a Cold, or Something Else?

Dec 12, 2022
Do I Have COVID-19, the Flu, a Cold, or Something Else?
Unfortunately, at least initially, the symptoms of a cold versus the flu versus COVID-19 are so similar that it’s hard to tell one from the other. Our team explains why that is, how to spot the differences, and when to see the doctor.

At Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic ER Care, Medical Provide- Ajay Patel and Desiree Rice and the team offer outstanding medical care with the convenience of walk-in, telemedicine, or concierge primary care services to people of all ages in Orlando, Florida. 

Whether you’re a full-time resident or one of the millions who visit our central Florida community every year, you can rely on our team’s commitment to keeping you healthy.

Here's what to expect with common viral illnesses like a cold, the flu, and COVID-19 and when to visit our urgent care clinic for your symptoms.

Similar but different

Viral respiratory illnesses like a cold, the flu, and even COVID-19 can all cause congestion, a runny nose, a sore throat, and a cough that can keep you from resting.

A cold may also gift you with lots of sneezing that isn’t commonly associated with influenza (flu) or COVID. But while you may experience a lingering cough or nasal drainage for 10-14 days, cold symptoms typically last less than a week. 

Notably, a common cold can sometimes inflame the bronchial tubes, resulting in bronchitis (a chest cold) that may cause severe coughing and difficulty breathing.     

On the other hand, the flu and COVID-19 frequently include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Aching joints and muscles
  • Moderate to severe fatigue
  • Headache, sometimes severe
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

COVID-19 is also known for changing your sense of taste or smell, sometimes leading to a complete loss of these senses for weeks to months.   

When to seek medical care

We encourage you to consider a telemedicine visit whenever you’re concerned about your health. Whether you’re experiencing a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, we offer treatment that can reduce your symptoms, help you rest, and prevent worsening illness.

Otherwise, seek medical care if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or influenza, especially if you were recently in contact with someone diagnosed with either illness. 

We also recommend you see a health care professional if you also have other conditions that increase your risk of severe illness, including:

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Excess weight
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • Age, increased risk over age 65
  • Heart failure

A weakened immune system due to HIV/AIDs, organ transplant, cancer treatments, and other chronic diseases also increase your risk of severe illness from COVID and the flu.

How do you treat COVID-19?

If caught early, antiviral therapies are often highly effective at preventing worsening illness from COVID-19. We also provide treatment that helps ease symptoms such as shortness of breath, body aches, and fever.

Vaccines are crucial to preventing serious illnesses from COVID-19 or the flu. We offer both vaccines at Urgent Care Walk-In ER Care in Orlando, Florida. 

Take advantage of our walk-in or telemedicine services, call for more information, or request a visit online.

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