Symptoms Of Coronavirus or Simply A Flu or Cold

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the virus Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

What is the coronavirus, how many coronavirus are there, the 2 Coronavirus strain currently affecting the world. How many days they can stay active on plastic, cardboard, metal and other surfaces. All known means of transmission of the virus. Click here to view all the details in case you missed it.

Everybody been talking about the Coronavirus lately. We all hear new cases everyday and doing all we can to stay safe. Currently there are 439,654 people worldwide who have been infected by the Coronavirus with 19,744 deaths already and the figures keeps on increasing everyday. You may check live stats here.

However, we should note that, this figure is nothing compared to Influenza(Flu)According to the CDC, from October 2019 to March 2020 there has been an estimated 36 million illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths cause by flu in the U.S.To note that we are talking about flu cases in the U.S only! People are so much likely to get flu and many would panic into thinking that they have been infected by the novel coronavirus since the symptoms are quite similar.

Why you should know your symptoms well before trying to get medical support

You got a cough, some muscle or body aches runny nose. You start to worry, thinking it might be the coronavirus and rush to the nearest clinic. However please don’t just jump to the hospital at a mere first sign of a fever or sniffle. Call a doctor, explain your situation. Be certain that it’s not just a flu. Seeking medical care for mild illness can also potentially transmit that illness, or lead to catching new illnesses in the hospital or clinic that you will be exposed to. The CDC says to get in contact with your doctor first rather than traveling to a clinic. Here is a guideline from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) giving detailed instructions what you should do in case you are experiencing symptoms and think that you might have been infected.

What are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus.

Covid-19 is a new virus and scientist are still working on it to understand the whole mechanism. However the most common signs and symptoms of Covid-19 are as follows and may appear 2-14 days after exposure according to the CDC.

Main Symptoms :

  • Fever

  • Cough (dry cough)

  • Shortness of breath(difficulty breathing)

 

Other symptoms :

  • Tiredness

  • Aches

  • Runny nose

  • Sore throat

All very similar to other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza (Flu).

What are the Symptoms of the Flu

Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose, sneezing and sore throat.

Main Symptoms​ :

  • Fever over 100.4 F (38 C)

  • cough

  • sore throat

  • runny or stuffy nose

  • muscle or body aches

  • headaches

  • fatigue (tiredness)

  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Treating Flu

Home treatment is largely enough . You can treat yourself by getting a good rest and staying warm. Taking medicine will only make your symptoms milder as influenza normally goes away on it’s own after reaching a symptom peak at around day 7-8 of inoculation . Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen can lower your temperature and treat aches and pains. Drinking plenty of water will help avoid dehydration. Vitamin C will also definitely help.

The flu will usually go away on it’s own as shown on the graph taken from the American Journal of Epidemiology.

As we can interpret from the graph :

  • The symptoms start to rise quickly from the inoculation day.

  • Symptoms Reaches it’s peak around day 2 to day 3 of the inoculation.

  • After day 2 and day 3 the symptoms begin to decrease steadily till day 8 and 9.

The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, and even if you do get flu after the vaccine, your symptoms will be much milder cause of the vaccine. Getting vaccinated before the flu season which normally is from December to March is best.

 

The table below from Medical News Today , summarize a quick comparison for symptoms of the Coronavirus, Flu and a Cold.

What to point out according to this table :

  • First of all, the symptoms for flu come all at once, 1-4 days whereas coronavirus will take much more time, 1-14 days before patient start experiencing symptoms.

  • Body ache, loss of appetite and Headache are common symptoms of flu whereas in Coronavirus it’s rare.

  • Most important of all. Shortness of breath and Respiratory Issues are common symptoms of coronavirus which not usually appears in case of flu.

 

How does coronavirus kill it’s victim

The name of the virus itself describes much about the nature of the virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus mainly focuses it’s attack on the respiratory system of it’s victims.

Information excerpt from the US CDC tells us the following ;

 

  • The virus have an average incubation period of 5.2 days. Symptoms will start to gradually appear around 2 to 12 days.

  • The primary symptoms(headache, myalgasis, fatigue) during the first few days are not very specific.

  • Fever and respiratory problems are secondary symptoms which will appear 2-3 days after primary symptoms.

The name of the virus itself describes much about the nature of the virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus mainly focuses it’s attack on the respiratory system of it’s victims.

As the virus continues it’s attack on the host, there are high chance of the patient to contract a pneumonia affecting the lungs of the person. The NCBI describes the following ;

 

  • As you the viral particle enters your eyes, nose or mouth, it get to your respiratory tract through the nasal passage. This is where replication starts.

  • As the virus starts multiplying inside cells lining the respiratory tract one will already start feeling the primary symptoms, dry cough, irritation and probably sore throat soon.

  • Multiplication of the virus continues, Dead cells keeps on gathering in the respiratory tract therefore causing slight breathing difficulties.

  • The virus proceed it’s way to the lung affecting the alveoli (small air sacs in the lung helping the breathing process). The breathing process of the victim is even more affected and the heart must work harder to provide oxygen to other organs.

  • By the time the virus reach the lungs, the immune system has already become aware the body being attack. Triggering the body parts to release cytokines which will fight the virus.

  • More often the immune system overreact to the virus due to the severity of the damage. Resulting in what we call a “Cytokines Storm”(Excessive immune response) which not only fight the invader but will now also causes harm throughout the body. Resulting in multiple inflammation.

  • Widespread inflammation throughout the lungs result in ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). Your body organs are strained being deprived of getting sufficient oxygen.

  • The immune system not being able to overcome the virus, organs failure starts to occur gradually. Finally death will result.

Point to note :

This whole process of the virus terminating the host focus on 3 main points.

  1. The dead cells accumulating the respiratory therefore increasing difficulty in breathing.

  2. The lungs being damaged as the virus spread through. Therefore causing further breathing difficulties.

  3. The Cytokines Storm (Immune system overreacting) causing multiple inflammation therefore favoring the virus propagation.

However ! No matter how scary the pathophysiology of the virus, bear in mind that 80% of people being infected with Covid-19 recover without special treatment. They don’t develop any complications. In 6 people infected with the virus, only 1 will develop breathing difficulties and get complications. According to the WHO and NCBI.

 

Age seems to be the determining factor whether one will get complications and breathing or not. Death rate of Corona virus infected increases with age. Those under 50 years who are infected have a death rate of 0.2-0.4% , 50-59 years the death rate is 1.3%, 60-69 years it’s 3.6%. You can read all the statistics, percentages based on age and more about the factors influencing fatalities cause by COVID-19 from this link.

We should remember that no matter how healthy and active a person is, as he ages his immune system naturally weakens and the person become more vulnerable to fighting virus. The only means proving effective against the pandemic right now seems to be isolating ourselves, confinement measures set by the government in countries infected. However many people don’t seems to understand the gravity of the situation and still go outside. Maybe they believe they are young or it won’t kill them , but think about transmitting this virus to your elders and being responsible for their death.

 

This was a quick review to differentiate between the symptoms of Flu and Coronavirus disease. However no matter what symptoms you believe are experiencing, the best option is to contact your doctor, many countries are providing helpline in case your are experiencing symptoms. Don’t panic and rush to the clinic.

We will soon provide an article on the precautions to protect yourself from the coronavirus based on recent studies.

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HealthFacts EST. 2020