The novel coronavirus COVID -19 was first brought to public knowledge in January. Since then, it has swept across the globe, infecting millions of people and resulting in the death of over 60,000 people in the United States alone. One of the biggest concerns during this pandemic is the prevalence of misinformation regarding the virus.

Many people have compared it to the seasonal flu due to the similarity of the symptoms and the fact that both the flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses. But COVID-19 is not an influenza virus. As new information is coming in each day regarding the novel coronavirus, it indicates that the infection rate and the mortality rate for COVID-19 are higher than the flu.

But before you start panicking over a runny nose, here’s some basic information to help you differentiate between the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19:


Symptoms for the flu usually develop within one to four days. People with COVID-19 will experience symptoms between 1 to 14 days. The median incubation duration for COVID-19 is approximately 5.1 days, while the flu takes 1 to 3 days to incubate.

Here is a simple chart to outline the main differences between the symptoms of the two illnesses:

Shortness of breathCommonSometimes
Nasal CongestionSometimesSometimes
Runny NoseSometimesSometimes
Body AchesSometimesCommon
Loss of AppetiteSometimesCommon
Sore throatSometimesSometimes
Respiratory IssuesCommonSometimes
Loss of senses such as taste and smellSometimesSometimes

The symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can range from mild to severe, and both can progress into pneumonia without proper care and lack of treatment.


Both the flu and COVID-19 are highly transmittable diseases and are usually spread through droplets in the air as a result of an infected person coughing and sneezing. An infected person might not display symptoms for several days after being exposed to COVID-19 but can still be highly infectious.

Prevention and Treatment

Both illnesses are preventable through social and physical distancing, coughing in the crook of the elbow, and frequent and thorough hand washing to stop the germs from spreading. Neither the flu nor COVID-19 can be treated with antibiotics as they are viral infections.

They are usually treated by addressing the symptoms, such as reducing the coughing and lowering the fever. Severe cases of the flu and COVID-19 can require hospitalization and mechanical ventilation.

Professional Diagnosis Through Reliable Physicians in Sacramento, CA

Natomas Family Practice is offering professional diagnosis for flu-like symptoms as well as comprehensive preventive care. We have taken the necessary measures and steps to ensure the safety of our patients, including social distancing, meticulous sanitation, and telemedicine. We are doing all we can to help flatten the curve while providing essential healthcare and checkups.

For additional information, call us today at 916-928-0856 to get connected with our experienced family physicians.