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Flu or COVID-19?

Sunday, September 27, 2020

COVID-19 cases in Gaines County totaled 339 as of press time on Friday; 286 have recovered and 46 remain active. With the influenza season hovering overhead, the Associated Press has released information on determining the difference between the flu and COVID-19.

According to the AP report, both have similar symptoms such as body aches, sore throat, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and headaches. People with the flu, however, typically feel sickest during the first week of illness. With the coronavirus, people may feel worse during the second or third week, and they may suffer for a more extended period.

An additional difference is that with COVID-19, the individual is more likely to lose a sense of taste or smell. However, everyone’s experience may be different. The best way to differentiate between the two viruses is by testing. Doctors will need to know test results to determine the best treatment; however, it is possible to have both at the same time.

ABC News reported on Sept. 8 that LabCorp announced the launch of the first testing method to simultaneously detect for COVID-19, influenza A / B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) ahead of flu season. According to the report, “The test is available to patients through doctors, and other healthcare providers and the company has also applied to the FDA to offer the test through its at-home test collection kit.” Pending authorization by the FDA, the at-home test would allow patients to find out if they have the flu, COVID-19, or RSV.

Because of the similar symptoms between the flu, COVID-19, and even RSV, testing is essential, says both the report from ABC News and the Associated Press.