Do you have flu or Covid-19? How to find out, risks involved. WHO answers


Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, WHO Infectious Hazard Management, said flu is very common especially in this season and usually the symptoms are fever and ache. “Muscle ache and also upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing and coughing are some of the other symptoms,” she said.

For Covid-19, its the same symptoms, basically, but in addition we have additional symptoms such as lack of smell and lack of taste. “Many people, especially young ones, are experiencing these additional symptoms for Covid-19. But sometimes, people have very few symptoms whether it’s for Covid-19 or flu. It really depends on your level of immunity,” she explains.

Also read: Covid-19 alert: Why WHO has warned against the new virus strain ‘XE’

The prevention measures work for both of them and especially washing hands is very important, she adds. “Ventilation of rooms when you are in crowded rooms, is important. One should open the window. If you can’t open the window, maintain distance,” she adds.

COVID-19 and influenza both respiratory diseases:-

Both viruses share similar symptoms, including cough, runny nose, sore throat, fever, headache and fatigue. People may have varying levels of illness with both COVID-19 and influenza. Some may have no symptoms, mild symptoms or severe disease. Both influenza and COVID-19 can be fatal.

COVID-19 and influenza spread in similar ways:-

Both COVID-19 and influenza are spread by droplets and aerosols when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings or breathes. The droplets and aerosols can land in the eyes, nose or mouth of people who are nearby — typically within 1 metre of the infected person, but sometimes even further away. People can also get infected with both COVID-19 and influenza by touching contaminated surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning their hands.

Also read: WHO suspends Covaxin supply to UN agencies

Some have higher risk for severe illness from Covid, influenza:-

While all age groups can be infected with both the COVID-19 virus and influenza virus, these people are at higher risk for severe disease and death from both COVID-19 and influenza: older adults; people of any age with chronic medical conditions (such as chronic cardiac, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurologic, liver or hematologic diseases); and people with immuno-suppressive conditions (such as HIV/AIDS, patients receiving chemotherapy or steroids, or malignancy).

Healthcare workers are at high risk of getting infected by COVID-19 and at high risk of getting infected by influenza. Pregnant people and those who have recently given birth are also at high risk for experiencing severe influenza and severe COVID-19.

Are there same protective measures against Covid, influenza:-

To protect against COVID-19 and influenza, you should follow these public health and social measures – maintain at least a 1-metre distance from others and wear a well-fitted mask when that’s not possible; avoid crowded and poorly ventilated places and settings; open windows or doors to keep rooms well ventilated; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue and throw the tissue into a closed bin; clean your hands frequently; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth; stay home if you don’t feel well; and contact your medical provider if you have any of the following severe severe symptoms of COVID-19, including shortness of breath, loss of appetite, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, and high temperature (above 38 °C).

Is vaccination important?

Vaccination is an important part of preventing severe disease and death for both COVID-19 and influenza. Follow the advice of your local authorities on getting the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. WHO recommends the influenza vaccine for older individuals, young children, pregnant people, people with underlying health conditions, and health workers.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe for most people 18 years and older, including those with pre-existing conditions of any kind, including auto-immune disorders. These conditions include: hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver and kidney disease, as well as chronic infections that are stable and controlled.

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