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How are coronavirus symptoms different from those of flu and cold?

The most common symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

With the number of coronavirus cases surging by the day, we all have a lot of questions like this about the deadly infection. All your COVID-19 questions have been answered by Dr. Gowri Kulkarni, MBBS, MRCGP (INT) through a webinar today.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : March 16, 2020 7:15 PM IST

According to the estimates of WHO, the death toll of the coronavirus outbreak has crossed 5,000 globally. The exact number as on 16th March is 5735. The latest updates shared by this world body reveal that the number of confirmed cases stands at 153 517. Coming back to India, 110 people are currently suffering from coronavirus, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The death toll in our country is 2 as of now (16th March). With the figures shooting up alarmingly, there's panic all across the globe about COVID-19. But what we need at the moment is precaution, not panic. In order to prevent panic and take the right measures against this virus, we need to be armed with the right information.

Keeping this aim in mind, TheHealthSite and DocsApp organised a webinar where Dr. Gowri Kulkarni, MBBS, MRCGP (INT), has answered all your queries about coronavirus. The webinar, which started from 12 noon today, focusses on the following topics:

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The webinar went live on Facebook @indiacom.

Meanwhile, let's take a look at the differences between the symptoms of common cold, flu and coronavirus.

Cold or flu? How to tell the difference

Both cold and flu are viral infections. When you have these viral infections, you may experience symptoms like cough and/or sore throat, fatigue, chills and shivering, a runny nose or congestion and headaches. But cpompared to cold symptoms, flu symptoms may be more severe and last longer.

Flu symptoms usually include fever, extreme fatigue, more painful body aches and intense chills and shivering. Flu may also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea but these conditions occur rarely with colds. On the other hand, a runny nose or nasal congestion is a common symptom of colds but are rarely associated with flu.

Cold symptoms often start with a sore throat, followed by a runny nose, and perhaps a cough. Whereas in flu, all symptoms typically hit at the same time.

Difference between coronavirus and regular flu symptoms

Both seasonal flu viruses and 2019-nCoV are contagious viruses that cause respiratory illness. But some flu symptoms may not occur in coronavirus patients.

Most coronavirus patients show ordinary flu symptoms such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath, aching muscles and fatigue. But as the virus affects the lower respiratory tract, and people infected with the new virus are less likely to have a sore throat. Only a few patients are found suffering from sore throat and runny nose. Cases of coronavirus patients experiencing diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting are also very less.

People with flu usually recover in less than two weeks. In some cases, the flu causes complications, including pneumonia. However, doctors are still trying to understand the severity of 2019-nCoV.

As respiratory viruses cause similar symptoms, WHO says, it is difficult to distinguish different respiratory viruses based on symptoms alone.

There is a vaccine to protect against seasonal flu, but not for 2019-nCoV. But researchers are in the early stages of developing one for the latest virus too.

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