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COVID-19 and the Flu

Is it COVID-19 or the flu?

COVID-19 and the flu have a lot in common. Both are caused by a virus. Both can cause a fever and cough. Both can be prevented by wearing a mask, social distancing and handwashing.

You can protect yourself today against the flu with a vaccine.

What are the symptoms?

  • Both: Fever, cough, headache, body aches, fatigue, sometimes nausea and diarrhea.
  • COVID-19: Also causes shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell. Some people display no symptoms.

What causes it?

  • COVID-19: The novel 2019 coronavirus or SARS CoV2.
  • Flu: Different strains and types of the influenza virus, which vary from year to year.

How does it spread?

  • Both: Droplets traveling through the air (talking, sneezing, coughing, shouting), touching a surface with viruses on it

How is it treated?

  • Both: Treatment to address symptoms such as fever or breathing problems and antiviral medications to shorten the length of illness.
  • COVID-19: Antivirals administered intravenously and available only in a hospital setting.
  • Flu: Oral antivirals prescribed on an outpatient basis or given to hospital patients.

How is it prevented?

  • Both: Masks, handwashing, social distancing.
  • COVID-19: Vaccine in development.
  • Flu: Vaccine available now, to prevent the flu or shorten its length and severity.