How COVID-19 Is Different From Normal Flu Or Influenza?

Avni Kaul, Nutritionist and Wellness Coach

Both Normal Flu or Influenza and COVID-19 are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness. A normal flu symptom includes sore throat, body and muscle pain, high fever, runny or stuffy nose, congestion, cough, fatigue and in some cases can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Commonly, normal flu takes three days to one weeks’ time to recover and in a small percentage of people like elders, small children, or people with lungs or heart diseases, normal flu triggers complications, including pneumonia.

With Coronavirus or COVID-19, the global scientific world is still trying to understand the full picture of disease symptoms and severity. Reported symptoms in patients have varied from mild to severe and can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization.

In normal conditions, studies of hospitalized patients have seen that approximately 83% -98% of patients develop a fever, 76% to 82% develop a dry cough and 11% to 44% develop fatigue or muscular pain, according to a review study on COVID-19 published Feb. 28 in the journal published by the American Medical Association (Source journal JAMA).  Other symptoms, such as headache, sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, have been reported, but are less common.

Another recent study by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Protection – around 44,672 confirmed cases in China between Dec. 31, 2019, and Feb. 11, 2020. In those cases, 80.9% (which is 36,160 cases) were thought to be mild, 13.8% (6,168 cases) severe and 4.7% (2,087) critical. Critical cases were those that exhibited respiratory failure, septic shock, or multiple organ failure.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), it is essential to note that, since respiratory viruses cause similar symptoms, it can be difficult to distinguish different respiratory viruses based on symptoms alone.

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