Do I Have Covid-19? The Flu? A Cold?

These are questions we are hearing frequently at MedOne Urgent Care St. Augustine, especially now that we have entered the flu season. COVID-19, the common cold, and the flu share many of the same symptoms, making it very difficult to self-diagnose. The only reliable way to determine which illness you have is with a medical evaluation and a COVID-19 test. MedOne Urgent care offers both PCR and Rapid Antigen testing at our clinic with no appointment necessary.


What’s the difference Between COVID-19 and the common cold?

Both illnesses are caused by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold by several viruses, but most often by rhinoviruses. COVID-19 and the cold are both contagious and can spread from person to person. They also have many of the same symptoms with just a few slight differences:


Symptom                                     COVID-19                          Common Cold

Cough                                           Usually (dry)                     Usually

Muscle aches                              Usually                               Sometimes

Tiredness                                     Usually                               Sometimes

Sneezing                                      Rarely                                 Sometimes

Sore throat                                  Usually                               Usually

Runny or stuffy nose                Usually                               Usually

Fever                                             Usually                               Sometimes

Diarrhea                                       Sometimes                       Never

Nausea or vomiting                  Sometimes                       Never

Loss of taste or smell               Usually                               Sometimes (especially with a stuffy nose)


The big difference between cold and COVID is the mortality rate and the fact some people take long times to recuperate.

The Omnicron variant is here and it is three times more contagious than Delta. Mortality is yet unknown, but hospitalizations are up.


Testing is important but so is prevention so hand washing frequently, masks, and social distancing is still important.



Is COVID-19 more serious than a cold?

Although COVID-19 may not cause any symptoms in some patients, it is still considered more serious than a cold because of the greater risk to the general population. While some patients may be asymptomatic, others, especially those who are unvaccinated, may experience severe and even life-threatening symptoms. A common cold may be severe, but is doesn’t pose the same risk for serious complications and possibly death.


How are COVID-19 and the common cold treated?

There is no cure for the common cold. Treatment incudes over-the-counter cold medicines, pain relievers and plenty of fluids and rest. For COVID-19, mild symptoms can be eased with acetaminophen and over-the-counter cough medicines. If symptoms are more severe, it’s important to seek treatment from a medical professional to prevent complications.


What is the difference between the flu and Covid-19?

COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV2 and the flu by Influenza A and B. The illnesses are spread the same way,

from person to person. According to the CDC, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily than the flu. Because the symptoms of both illnesses are largely the same, testing and diagnosis should be done by a medical professional.


Symptom                                      COVID-19                        Flu

Cough                                             Usually (dry)                   Usually

Muscle aches                               Usually                             Usually

Tiredness                                       Usually                             Usually

Sore throat                                   Usually                             Usually

Runny or stuffy nose                 Usually                             Usually

Fever                                               Usually                             Usually — not always

Nausea or vomiting                   Sometimes                     Sometimes (more common in children)

Diarrhea                                        Sometimes                     Sometimes (more common in children)

Shortness of breath                   Usually                             Usually

Loss of taste or smell                 Usually                             Rarely


Is COVID-19 more serious than the flu?

COVID-19 and the flu can both result in serious illness that may lead to hospitalization and death. COVID-19 is considered the more dangerous of the two because people who have the disease are contagious for longer and the likelihood of complications and serious illness are greater. Because people with COVID-19 can spread the disease for at least 10 days after symptoms first appear, it’s very important to get tested as soon as you begin to show signs of being sick or if you have been exposed to someone with a positive test result.


How are COVID-19 and the flu treated?

The flu can often be treated with rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications. But if the illness is severe, a doctor may prescribe an influenza antiviral drug. COVID-19 symptoms may also be relieved with over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen if the illness is mild. If symptoms are severe, seek medical treatment. One antiviral drug, remdesivir, has been authorized by the FDA for emergency use.


How do I protect myself and my family from getting sick?

If possible, get a COVID-19 and a flu vaccine. They are proven effective in preventing severe illness. Per the CDC, it is okay to get both vaccinations at the same time. Other precautions to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, the flu and the common cold include:


  • Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of illness or who have been diagnosed with an illness
  • Wear a face mask in crowded indoor public spaces
  • Wash your hands frequently for a least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces such as door knobs, light switches and electronics


What do I do if I have symptoms?

If you are experiencing mild cold symptoms, such as a scratchy throat, get plenty of rest and fluids and take over-the-counter medication to ease discomfort. If symptoms worsen or extend over several days, visit MedOne Urgent care for treatment.


If your symptoms are more consistent with COVID-19 or the flu, visit our clinic right away for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.  We offer both Rapid Antigen and PCR testing for COVID-19. Our experienced healthcare professionals can help determine which test is right for you and can begin treatment to get you on the road to a quick recovery.


MedOne Urgent Care St. Augustine is your local alternative to the ER. Our skilled medical professionals treat a wide range of illnesses, lacerations, and injuries. We are open 9 AM – 6 PM weekdays and 9 AM – 5 PM on weekends. No appointment is necessary.

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