For the past couple of days I've had a little cough and a runny nose. Normally, I'd suck it up, and do my thing - but this year, nothing is normal. Instead, I'm home in New Hartford, playing "Cold, Flu, or COVID," the worst game ever.

As we head into what is typically flu season in Central New York, it's probably not a bad idea to review the similarities and differences between a common cold, the flu, and COVID-19.

Signs and symptoms of a cold include:

  • Fever or chills (although most people with colds do not develop a fever)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Watery eyes

Signs and symptoms of the flu may include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Cold symptoms tend to come on more gradually than flu symptoms. The CDC offers this graphic to show the similarities between a cold and the flu:

Credit: CDC.gov

Unfortunately, you may notice that COVID and the flu have similar symptoms. The main difference between the two is a new loss of taste or smell - the presence of that symptom indicates you should probably get tested for COVID if you have other symptoms as well, according to the CDC.

It's a little easier to discern a likely cold from the flu, but more difficult to discern the flu from COVID. If you have any or several of these symptoms, you should definitely contact your physician for advice.

In the meantime, we can all help protect each other by wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying 6' feet apart.

As for me, it's probably likely I have a little cold - but this year, I'm taking extra precautions...just in case.

 

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