Covid, Flu or Virus?: How to Tell the Difference!

Covid, Flu or Virus?: How to Tell the Difference!

Deciphering the symptoms of the tripledemic players – Covid, Flu and RSV – is not intuitive. So we curated this story by Huff Post Wellness Reporter Jillian Wilson, for some answers.

Three respiratory viruses are circling at a high rate right now — the flu, COVID-19 and RSV (or respiratory syncytial virus).

These viruses have similar symptoms in most healthy adults, but can impact certain populations (children, older adults or immunocompromised people) more severely. Also, it can be helpful, in general, to know what virus you’re dealing with for your peace of mind.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a surefire way to tell these viruses apart (aside from testing, which isn’t always available). But some telltale signs can help you glean what you’re dealing with. Here, experts share signs to look for to determine which virus you have.

First, severe RSV is most common in children and immunocompromised adults.

According to Dr. Laolu Fayanju, regional medical director at Oak Street Health in Ohio, RSV generally infects children. And nearly all children get RSV by the age of 2.

So, if you’re dealing with sick infants and young toddlers, there’s a higher chance that their infection is RSV compared to other populations.

“This child will usually present with a runny nose [and] fever,” he said.

While symptoms like a runny nose or low fever aren’t enough to bring your child to their pediatrician, another sign of RSV — trouble breathing — is a reason to go, added Dr. Vandana Madhavan, clinical director of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Mass General for Children.

“If you’re noticing your child is working harder to breathe … [or] if you’re noticing they’re not drinking as much, those are all signs the baby needs to come in,” Madhavan said.

If you don’t notice those symptoms, your child likely does not need to go to the doctor, and you can instead call to talk to your pediatrician about virus management.

Madhavan noted that doctor’s offices are overrun right now, and if you bring your child in for mild symptoms that would otherwise get better at home, there’s a chance they could pick up another illness while at the doctor.

Also, adults with certain chronic conditions are at risk of severe RSV, particularly “older people with chronic lung diseases,” Fayanju said.

Gastrointestinal issues are not generally associated with RSV…

Continue reading here.

1 Comment
  • Mia Evans
    Posted at 21:49h, 03 January

    I never took into account the fact that infants and toddlers would have a higher chance of getting infected compared to other populations. In that case, seeing a child doctor for my son will ensure his protection, especially when there has been a pandemic recently. With their help I’ll be sure that we prevent him from getting infected as much as possible, since there is still no accurate treatment for COVID-19.