If you have a runny nose or itchy eyes, it doesn’t mean you have the novel coronavirus. However, if you have a cough, fatigue, and a fever, you might have COVID-19. Then again, it could also be seasonal flu.
Not all symptoms are created equally. There are many symptoms of cold, flu, and COVID that are similar, and it may be difficult to distinguish. They’re all caused by viruses, but different viruses cause each of these infections.
However, one key difference between the three is a symptom of coronavirus is shortness of breath. Shortness of breath is a common sign of COVID-19 which occurs prior to the development of pneumonia. Generally, the flu or a cold does not cause shortness of breath unless it has progressed to pneumonia, in which case you’ll also want to contact your healthcare provider.
The common cold rarely causes shortness of breath after fever develops.
Influenza does mimic COVID-19 very closely, but the shortness of breath is not usually as severe as it is with COVID-19.
With COVID-19, shortness of breath often occurs 5 to 10 days after the first sign of fever.