There is obviously a lot of concern about colds, the common flu and Covid variants, all with good reason. As the latest round of Omicron infections soar, people are often hard-pressed to know if a sniffle or cough means they have a common cold, the standard flu (if there still is such a thing), or a more worrisome Covid infection. This is especially troubling now since the surge in Omicron infections is surfacing at a time when colds and flu cases are traditionally seen. Obviously, if in doubt, get tested to determine whether a Covid infection is at hand. In the meantime, here’s a shortlist of symptoms for the common flu and how it may be different from a cold or a Covid variant courtesy of among others, The Mayo Clinic.
Extreme fatigue is likely a sign of the flu. This tiredness can even remain after other flu symptoms go away. Not surprisingly, fatigue could also be a sign of a Covid infection, although it is unlikely an indicator a person has a cold.
A fever is a red flag that a flu could be at hand although there are limited times the common flu doesn’t bring a rise in temperatures. Regardless, a fever is the body’s natural defense against flu viruses. It is possible to have low-grade fevers with colds too, but in these cases, temperatures rarely go a few degrees above normal. Covid variant infections, however, almost always come with a fever.
Congestion that comes from the flu or cold can raise the pressure in a person’s ear, causing a dull pain, hearing loss or even a sensation of “popping” in the ears. Problems like these can obviously happen with Covid-related infections as well, but in either case, it is likely to be a minor symptom compared to other ones. It may simply be caused by other factors too.
Respiratory problems are a definite byproduct of colds and the flu, including Covid infections. These conditions can even lead to pneumonia or having a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pains when coughing. One difference to note, Covid infections usually lead to a dry cough, while common flu- and cold-related coughs are definitely less dry. These natural oil remedies should provide some relief, but they are not substitutes for professional medical treatments for coughs related to the flu or colds.
Someone suffering from a stuffy nose but who doesn’t have a fever, body aches or extreme fatigue is probably dealing with a cold instead of the flu or a Covid infection. But nasal congestion can lead to sinus infections and pain. If it’s accompanied by other red flags, it may indicate more worrisome conditions may be involved.
If someone losing their sense of smell or taste is a prime indicator of a Covid-related infection could have taken hold. These conditions rarely, if ever, appear when someone is battling the common flu or cold.
Let us know if we’ve missed a major symptom for colds and the common flu at firstname.lastname@example.org. More importantly, get tested immediately if you come down with any Covid-related symptoms.
WellWell editors independently identify services and products of interest. If readers purchase anything through the associated links, WellWell may earn a commission, which goes to support our work. Learn More.