NewsLocal News


What's the difference? Cold vs. Flu vs. Coronavirus Symptoms

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 13, 2020

If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your health care provider immediately. If you have health-related questions or concerns, contact your healthcare provider. For general questions about COVID-19 or information about community resources, call 2-1-1.

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A lot of fear stemming from the Coronavirus comes from the fact that it is so new and that it is unraveling in real-time.

Many people remain confused about the exact symptoms, as many healthcare professionals tell them to look for cold or flu-like symptoms. But what exactly does that mean?

PODCAST: Supervisor Nathan Fletcher talks about coronavirus and how newly approved stimulus bill will impact San Diego County

10News sat down with Dr. Abisola Olulade from Sharp Rees Stealy Downtown, who broke it down.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], these are the common symptoms for the cold, flu, and Coronavirus.

The Cold:
Stuffy Nose
Sore Throat

The Flu:

The Coronavirus:
Shortness of Breath

There are many overlaps. But Dr. Olulade said the most significant difference is the respiratory aspect of shortness of breath. When a patient experiences that, that is a cause for serious Coronavirus concern.

"I would say that the main thing that is different about the Coronavirus is that, more so than the others, it causes shortness of breath. It’s rare for the others to cause shortness of breath," Dr. Olulade said.

When should you go to the doctor? Dr. Olulade said, do not panic and run out the door immediately.

First, make sure you have a fever, cough, and especially shortness of breath. Then, call your doctor to let them know of your specific symptoms so that the hospital or doctor's office can prepare for your potential arrival. For example, you may need a special type of room to be set up. You may not.

Dr. Olulade said if you are in general good health, with no pre-existing conditions, and have no recent travel history, you may be asked to stay home and self-quarantine for the time being. Testing for you may not be prioritized.

However, if you are presenting Coronavirus symptoms, have pre-existing conditions that make your immune system compromised, or have recent travel history, you may be asked to come in immediately to get tested. It all depends on that phonecall. Listen to their advice and proceed.