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This information has been reviewed and approved by Flavia Hoyte, MD and Jared Eddy, MD (December 2021).


Cold, Flu or COVID-19 virus?


Symptoms Cold Flu COVID-19
Symptoms begin Gradually Abruptly Within 14 days of exposure
Symptoms last 4 - 10 days 5 - 7 days Varies by person
Body aches Sometimes
Chills Less common Sometimes
Dry cough
Exposure to germs
Fever Less common
Headaches Less common Sometimes
Itchy eyes
Nasal congestion Sometimes
Nausea/Vomiting/Diarrhea Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
New loss of taste or smell Sometimes Sometimes
Repeated shaking with chills Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Runny nose Sometimes
Sneeze Sometimes
Sore throat Sometimes
Shortness of breath Less common
Symptoms get worse

Think You Have COVID-19?

  • Stay home and away from others.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • Rest.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often.
  • Treat symptoms.

Contact your doctor if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or existing chronic disease.

COVID-19 symptoms can be slightly different with the Delta variant.

More Information on Colds, Flu and COVID-19


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