The symptoms of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are similar, and it has become necessary to know the symptoms, and how we can differentiate between them, especially since they all have symptoms similar to those of the common cold.
Dr. Michael Chang, an infectious disease specialist in Houston, Texas, told the newspaper:The New York TimesViral infections can be differentiated by watching how quickly symptoms worsen.
Flu symptoms come on quickly, often occur only a day after a sick person is infected, and can be felt all over the body.
As for the common cold, symptoms may appear after two or three days and are more mild.
And for Covid, symptoms appear after five days on average in general, and with the emergence of new mutants, they may appear after only three days.
In the case of RSV infection, symptoms appear after four to six days
Symptoms of “Covid” and “RSV” worsen slowly, and it may start with a stuffy nose, then a cough or headache the next day, and a fever on the third day.
In the case of influenza, adults may experience a fever between 39 and 40 degrees, but fever rarely affects patients with colds.
In the case of “Covid” and “RSV”, a slight fever may occur, perhaps less than 38 degrees, or it may not occur at all. Chang explains that it has become common for mild symptoms and low fever due to new variants, vaccination or previous infections.
There are other less common symptoms that can help identify the condition, which are diarrhea and vomiting, which occur due to influenza or Covid, and these appear more often in children.
Covid may lead to a sudden and severe loss of taste or smell.
RSV is often accompanied by a very wet and strong cough.
People with RSV often do not feel full body fatigue and muscle pain, which is something that happens to patients with influenza and Covid viruses. This virus can also be distinguished, especially in young children, by hearing a whistling or crackling when exhaling, and it may be accompanied by rapid or difficult breathing.
In general, people over the age of 65 are the most susceptible to infection with all viruses, due to immunodeficiency with age, while children are susceptible to severe symptoms of influenza and “RSV”.
Dr. Zhang said that children are more likely to have mild COVID-19 infection or may not develop symptoms at all compared to adults.
The only way to diagnose an infection is with an examination.