Guide to Identifying if You Have a Cold, Flu, COVID, RSV, or Strep

Guide to Identifying if You Have a Cold, Flu, COVID, RSV, or Strep

With so many viruses circulating, it’s nearly impossible to identify if the illness affecting us requires medical care. Here are the symptoms you need to be aware of for each specific virus.


The Mayo Clinic has provided a detailed list of cold symptoms and their differences between COVID-19 and the flu. A high fever is not a symptom of a cold. A cold tends to be milder than other viruses. The main signs of a cold are scratchy throat, sneezing, nasal congestion, and runny nose. Other symptoms may include coughing and sore throat. As is typically the case, some may see their appetite dip depending on the symptoms.


The symptoms of the flu are felt more immediately and are more severe. They include a fever above 100F, a cough, headache, chills, nausea, muscle aches, and fatigue. Generally, the flu resolves itself in a week or so, but many can alleviate symptoms using over-the-counter drugs or home remedies.


The main symptoms associated with COVID-19 are the loss of taste and smell. Other symptoms reported are runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, headache, and dry cough, but these are also symptoms of the flu and the cold.


The information provided by the CDC states that the most common respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) symptoms are coughing and sneezing, followed by fever and a runny nose. Of the three viruses mentioned, a person with RSV will have more mucus in the nose and throat and breathing difficulties.


Of the possible illnesses listed, strep A cases are the ones that may call for medical attention. The symptoms are more severe than other viruses. The first symptom will be a sudden sore throat, painful swallowing, and fever. Tiny red dots on the roof of your mouth and swollen lymph nodes are also indicators. Children may experience additional symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and headaches.

Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you have severe symptoms of any of these viruses.

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