COVID-19 vs. Influenza (Flu)

SAR-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and influenza (flu) are both respiratory illnesses that can have similar symptoms. However there are some key differences between them. For the latest information, check out the CDC website.

What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses common in both humans and animals that cause respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus, emerging in late 2019.

Is COVID-19 or the flu more deadly?

The flu has a substantial impact on country each year, but COVID-19 has a higher rate of death associated with it.

What are the symptoms associated with COVID-19?

Common symptoms associated with COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

How are COVID-19 symptoms different from flu symptoms?

Common flu symptoms can also include fever, chills, cough, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. However, COVID-19 symptoms seem to cause more severe illnesses and loss of taste or smell is not associated with the flu. In addition, flu symptoms usually appear within one to four days after infection. With COVID-19, it typically takes longer for symptoms to appear.

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How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets from someone talking, coughing or sneezing. It’s also possible to get infected by touching a surface that has the virus and then touching your eyes or mouth. The flu is spread through respiratory droplets as well. However, COVID-19 has been found to spread more easily.

Who is at a high risk of getting sick from the flu or COVID-19?

Both the flu and COVID-19 can cause more severe cases in seniors, those with underlying medical conditions and pregnant people.

Does the flu shot protect me from COVID-19?

No, the flu shot does not protect you from COVID-19. But everyone should still get their flu shot because it will protect you against the flu. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get the COVID-19 vaccine when you become eligible, wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing.

Learn more about the flu