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Flu and coronavirus: Similar symptoms, different fears

Mental effects of lockdown on children a matter of growing concern among parents


NEW YORK: Is it the flu, a chilly or the brand new coronavirus? Patients and docs alike are parsing indicators of sickness to determine who wants what checks or care and the way nervous they need to be.

“You have three completely different main viruses floating round on the similar time, inflicting considerably related signs — however completely different ranges of concern,” stated Dr Gary LeRoy, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

So what’s the largest hazard? And why are we responding to them so in another way?


COVID-19, the illness attributable to the brand new coronavirus, is a flu-like sickness that has killed a small fraction of the variety of those who the flu kills yearly. Through the primary 4 months of the outbreak, coronavirus has killed about four,300 individuals. Flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 yearly world wide, in keeping with the World Health Organization.

To some, that comparability appears comforting as a result of flu is such a well-recognized foe. President Donald Trump usually brings it up, noting in a tweet what number of extra Americans die from flu and including, “Nothing is shut down, life & the economic system go on … Think about that!”

But to public well being consultants, the massive variety of flu deaths is strictly why extraordinary steps needs to be taken to attempt to forestall the brand new coronavirus from spreading broadly.

The flu’s annual return can’t be stopped as a result of it’s already so embedded within the inhabitants. There continues to be an opportunity COVID-19 circumstances may be restricted or unfold slowed whereas remedies are developed.


Flu kills about zero.1% of these it infects, however that’s nonetheless a whole lot of 1000’s of individuals every year as a result of it infects thousands and thousands.

Researchers are nonetheless attempting to know simply how lethal the brand new coronavirus is. The mortality price from an infection with the virus isn’t recognized but as a result of the circumstances caught in an early a part of an outbreak are sometimes probably the most extreme, individuals with gentle or no signs aren’t being examined, and generally overwhelmed hospitals battle to look after the sickest sufferers. Various studies have estimated the fatality price from lower than 1% to as excessive as four% amongst circumstances identified thus far, relying on location.

Most individuals contaminated by the brand new coronavirus develop gentle or reasonable signs and recuperate after about two weeks.


Flu, chilly and coronavirus typically share sure signs, however variations in depth and the way they seem can supply clues to which one is inflicting the distress. Doctors can take a look at for the flu and get outcomes inside a day, however coronavirus testing continues to be restricted by availability within the United States.

Colds are sometimes suspected as a result of adults get about two on common every year, stated LeRoy, a household medication physician and affiliate dean at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

“The frequent chilly simply begins out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny nostril, stuffy nostril” and any fever is often gentle, he stated.

Flu signs are extra intense and often come on out of the blue, the Yale New Haven Health System advises. They can embody a excessive fever (over 100.5 levels), excessive exhaustion, muscle or physique aches, a dry cough and chills.

“It actually hits you want a bus,” and other people could begin a day properly however really feel horrible by afternoon, LeRoy stated.

Flu signs can embody a runny or stuffy nostril, complications and presumably vomiting or diarrhea, although the latter two are extra frequent in youngsters than adults, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Symptoms of COVID-19 could seem extra slowly. They often embody fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, in keeping with the World Health Organization. A minority of circumstances develop pneumonia, and the illness is very worrisome for the aged and people with different medical issues reminiscent of hypertension, weight problems, diabetes or coronary heart circumstances.

One research of hospitalized sufferers in China discovered that about half didn’t have a fever once they had been admitted however almost all developed one.

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Don’t go straight to your physician’s workplace — that simply dangers making extra individuals sick, officers urge. Call forward, and ask if it is advisable be seen and the place.

Fever, cough and noticeable shortness of breath — “when you’ve got these three elements, particularly if it’s related to some current journey or somebody you recognize who’s been uncovered to COVID-19, these issues ought to immediate you to name for medical consideration,” LeRoy stated.

“Mildly ailing sufferers needs to be inspired to remain dwelling,” the CDC’s Dr. Sue Gerber instructed docs on a convention name final week. People having issue respiratory ought to search care, and older individuals or these with different circumstances ought to contact their docs early in the midst of sickness, she stated.


To shield your self, wash your arms properly and infrequently, preserve them away out of your face, and keep away from crowds and standing near individuals.

There’s one massive distinction between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to assist forestall the flu and it’s not too late to get it. It gained’t shield you from catching the coronavirus, however could put you in a greater place to battle it.

“You don’t wish to have a compromised immune system for those who had been to come across coronavirus,” LeRoy stated.

The publish Flu and coronavirus: Similar signs, completely different fears appeared first on The Himalayan Times.


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