What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.
While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.
How does COVID-19 compare to the seasonal flu or a cold?
People with COVID-19, the flu, or a cold typically develop similar respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Even though many symptoms are alike, they are caused by different viruses. Because of their similarities, it can be difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms alone. That's why laboratory tests are required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.
Will there be flu along with COVID-19 this winter?
While it’s not possible to say with certainty but it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. It is recommended that all people over the age of six months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.
Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes. It is possible have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.
Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.
Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?
Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.
Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits – it is shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death.
Is it safe to have the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
Yes. Clinical studies have shown it is safe and effective for people to have both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time, so for some individuals this will mean they only require one visit to a health facility.
During the pandemic, is it safe for me to go to get a flu vaccine?
You can safely get a flu vaccine at multiple locations including your primary health care center or private clinic. When going to get a flu vaccine, be sure to practice everyday preventive actions this includes wearing a mask, washing your hands and keeping an appropriate distance.