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Coronavirus versus influenza: What do your symptoms mean? Is it good news if you have the flu and not COVID-19?

“Coronavirus and influenza viruses are both respiratory illnesses which are contagious and transmissible in nature,” says Dr Sanket Jain, pulmonologist consultant, Masina Hospital, Mumbai. According to him, both have similar symptoms like fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, breathlessness and headaches.

The two are transmitted between people through aerosol droplets, released while coughing, talking, sneezing etc.. These droplets can then land up in the mouth or be inhaled by a person. As per the doctor, older age groups, people who are in immuno-suppressed state are more likely to get infected with any of these viruses.

Also read: Is it possible to contract the flu twice in a single year? We decode

Having said that, coronavirus and influenza virus have some differences, notes Dr. Jain. While influenza virus shows symptoms faster once infected, coronavirus takes longer to show symptoms after getting infected. Additionally, coronavirus is more contagious and has the tendency to spread at a faster rate as compared to influenza virus.

US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control states that a person suffering with flu will develop symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection, whereas a COVID positive individual can experience symptoms 5 days after being infected. However, symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection.

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