The Difference Between the Coronavirus and the Flu


With the weather turning colder, it’s inevitable that flu season is right around the corner. While COVID-19 was not a threat during the early winter months of 2019/2020, it certainly will be this upcoming season. That’s why it’s important to understand the difference between the coronavirus and influenza. While they both have many similar symptoms and methods of transmission, there are some significant ways they differ.


How the coronavirus and the flu are similar


According to Johns Hopkins, the flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses. This means they affect your lungs and breathing and can be spread to others. Similar symptoms of both illnesses include fever, cough, body aches and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. They both can result in pneumonia and vary in severity from mild to fatal. Another key disease they are both known to cause is respiratory disease. The WHO says this presents a wide range of illness from asymptomatic or mild through to severe disease and death.


Another way the coronavirus and the flu are similar is in how they spread. They both are contagious and transmit by contact and droplets. This means the same public health measures like having good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette are crucial in preventing infection. In order to stay safe and healthy, especially during the flu season, coughing into your elbow, immediately disposing of tissues and staying home when you feel ill are incredibly important. 


If you do happen to feel sick, it is possible you may have both the flu and coronavirus at the same time. In mild cases, you may be able to recover in the comfort of your own home with rest and plenty of fluids. For more extreme cases, hospitalization may be necessary. In order to determine which illness you have and what the best method of treatment is for you, it’s important to consult a doctor.


How are these two illnesses different?


Influenza has been around much longer than COVID-19 and therefore we know much more about this disease. While the coronavirus and the flu tend to look similar, they are actually two different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 (aka 2019 coronavirus). The flu is caused by many different types and strains of virus which circulate each year. 


While the symptoms may be similar, there are a few that only show up in cases of COVID-19. Some people who have COVID-19 may not even know they have the disease and are simply a carrier. Others may have more extreme symptoms like losing their sense of smell or taste. Because they can both be fatal, it’s incredibly important that you are diligent in staying safe. This is especially important during winter months when diseases spread quickly. While the flu vaccine is available every year, COVID-19 is new and therefore mostly our bodies do not have immunity yet. 


What to do if someone at home has an extreme illness


While diligent cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces can be helpful in preventing the spread of common cold-like symptoms that are present in both the coronavirus and the flu, there are some cases where you may need to bring in outside help. If a COVID-19 death or infection occurs in the home, it may be time to work with a professional. 


Biohazard cleanup companies like Xtreme Cleaners are experts in cleaning contaminated spaces. They will also advise how long the space should remain vacant after cleaning until it’s safe and help you feel confident and comfortable at home. It’s important to have a professional company deeply clean the areas that may be a hazard. If you or someone you know needs help cleaning due to a COVID-19 related death or contaminated space, call Xtreme Cleaners at (800) 524-9591.