Really, people getting sick shouldn’t be a political debate, but that is the reality we live in right now as we enter what the CDC warns us is going to be a very bad flu season. But flu isn’t the only virus hopping around from person to person. There is the plain old Cold virus, something called RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), COVID-19 mutations are sadly still with us, and this year’s Flu strains. Depending on your underlying health some can be worse than others, and they can be hard to tell apart.
According to the CDC, some clues can be how quickly symptoms overtake us, how long they last and which symptoms we have can tell us a great deal about which virus we may have encountered. If we are hoping to limit the time we are under the weather, it pays to know what we have so we can choose the correct treatments.
WebMD has provided a handy table that lists some of the common symptoms of all four viruses:
Another factor in diagnosing is time – how quickly have symptoms hit us? Experts agree that flu symptoms usually come on very quickly compared to the other viruses. Also, vomiting and diarrhea are more common with COVID-19, and to some extent the flu, compared to RSV or a cold. More sneezing, nasal mucus and wheezing are signs pointing to RSV, which is an upper respiratory infection.
The only sure way to know what virus has us down is to get tested. Still have viable home Covid test kits? Great, self-administer, it will at the least eliminate one of the possibilities. Testing is the only reliable way to diagnose a viral illness. Trust your instinct if you feel a viral illness is getting worse and visit your doctor, there is treatment for both COVID-19 and for influenza, earlier is better.
If you are sick, you are sick. It isn’t imaginary. Get medical help if you need it and don’t spread it to others. They may not be able to handle it as well as you. And if you haven’t yet, get vaccinated, I don’t think there is anyone who wants to spend three days in the bathroom vomiting when it can be avoided.