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Coronavirus Vs Flu: Know The Similarities And Differences

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, China on December 31 last year. This is a novel strain of coronavirus that causes severe respiratory illness, which was subsequently named SARS-CoV-2. As of March 25, 2020, nearly 422,989 cases have been confirmed and 18,916 deaths have been reported to date.

COVID-19 causes mild to severe respiratory illness with fever and cough which is similar to the symptoms caused by flu. However, there are many differences between them. In this article, we will discuss what is the difference between coronavirus and flu and how to identify them.

What Is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a wide range of illness from mild to severe and even death. The disease affects both animals and humans. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are the two other coronaviruses that are much more severe [1].


Symptoms Of Coronavirus

COVID-19 causes symptoms such as fever, cough, fatigue, loss of appetite, nasal congestion, headache and shortness of breath that may appear within 2-14 days after exposure. However, a study has shown that the median incubation period of the virus is 5.1 days [2].

Mortality Rate Of Coronavirus

The new strain of virus appears to have a higher mortality rate as compared to the seasonal flu. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) data, the crude mortality ratio (the number of reported deaths divided by the reported cases) of COVID-19 is between 3-4 per cent.


Transmission Of Coronavirus

This virus is transmitted through water droplets while coughing and sneezing and fomites. The virus can be transmitted very quickly when you come in close contact with a person and also when you touch contaminated surfaces because the virus can live on surfaces such as copper, cardboard, plastic and stainless steel [3].

Treatment Of Coronavirus

Currently, a number of clinical trials are going on in China and more than 20 vaccines are still in the development stage for COVID-19. As of now, there are no licensed vaccines or therapeutics for COVID-19 as per the WHO.


Prevention Of Coronavirus

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Maintain six feet distance away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing
  • Stay at home

What Is Flu?

Flu also called influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza A or B virus. It occurs with rapid onset of illness, high fever, headache and body aches.

Symptoms Of Flu

Flu causes symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough, headache, body or muscle ache, runny nose, fatigue. The influenza virus has a median incubation period of 1.4 days for influenza A virus and 0.6 days for influenza B virus [4].


Mortality Rate Of Flu

As per the World Health Organization (WHO) data, the mortality rate of seasonal influenza is usually below 0.1 per cent.

Transmission Of Flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with flu can transmit it to others up to about six feet away. Flu virus is mainly spread through water droplets when a person coughs, sneezes or talks. After the illness begins, people with flu are contagious in the first three to four days.

People with flu can infect others one day before symptoms appear and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

Children and people with weakened immune systems may transmit the virus for longer than seven days.


Treatment Of Flu

Antiviral medications and vaccines are available for influenza virus and the WHO recommends getting vaccinated every year to prevent flu.

Prevention Of Flu

Vaccination is the best effective way to prevent flu. It takes two weeks for the antibodies to develop after the vaccination.

To Conclude...

It is very important to know that the seasonal flu should not be confused with COVID-19. Both these respiratory illnesses differ in many ways; however, the symptoms are similar, which may be difficult to detect. Keep yourself well-informed and keep yourself healthy.

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