Health and Wellness


The Feed listed down everything you need to know to differentiate COVID-19 from flu.

/ 17 September 2021

During the start of the pandemic, we’ve heard a lot of experts saying that COVID-19 is very similar to the flu or influenza. True enough, COVID-19 and flu are both contagious respiratory diseases caused by viruses. However, regardless of how similar they are, these two diseases are very much different.

Stuck with the idea that COVID-19 and flu are very similar, there are some people who are afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine and are opting to take a flu shot. And while both of these vaccines use different technologies against two unique viruses, they still have the same job of teaching our immune system how to recognize and attack a virus. But comparing the two would be like comparing apples to oranges.

So, to help us understand the similarities and differences between the two, we listed down everything you need to know to differentiate COVID-19 and flu.


Both of these diseases spread in similar ways which are through respiratory droplets or aerosols released through talking, sneezing, or coughing. And can spread between people who are in close contact or within six feet or two meters. These droplets can spread the virus when they land in the mouth or inhaled by someone. Another common way to spread COVID-19 and flu is when a person touches a surface contaminated with one of the viruses and that person touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

Another similarity between these two diseases are their symptoms which are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Tiredness
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting, but this is more common in children than in adults

Because COVID-19 and flu have so much similar symptoms it is hard to diagnose which disease you have based on your symptoms. The best way for you to know is to get tested. But take note, you can test positive for COVID-19 and flu at the same time.

One of the scariest things about COVID-19 and flu is how both diseases can lead to multiple serious complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, organ failure, heart attacks, heart or brain inflammation, stroke, and even death. However, many people with flu or mild symptoms of COVID-19 can recover at home with rest and fluids.


First of all, COVID-19 and flu are caused by two different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, while influenza is caused by influenza A and B viruses. And since the flu has been around much longer than COVID, doctors know more about how to treat and prevent it while experts continue to learn more about COVID-19.

While COVID-19 and flu are quite similar in some of their symptoms there are still some differences. Symptoms of both diseases appear at different times and have recorded some variations. For example, with COVID, you may experience loss of taste or smell while there are none with flu. Further, COVID-19 symptoms usually appear after two to 14 days of exposure. While flu symptoms appear about one to four days after exposure.

Lastly is the vaccine, getting a flu shot will help reduce the risk of getting the flu. It also reduces the risk of getting severe flu and any serious complications. However, despite the conflicting researches, the flu vaccine cannot fully protect you from COVID-19.

Still, the best way to protect ourselves from the flu or COVID is to get vaccinated. The bottom line is both of these vaccines teach our immune system how to recognize and attack a virus. And despite all the side effects and myths about vaccines, it is still our best defense to protect us during these troubled times.