As winter approaches, respiratory diseases take center stage and at the slightest sneeze or runny nose, you quickly begin to wonder if you have the flu or if Covid-19 is responsible for the symptoms.
What generally happens is that the term flu is generally used to name any respiratory illness, especially in the winter period. But that’s not exactly how we identify and treat different clinical conditions. That’s right, different! The flu, colds and Covid cause similar symptoms, but deserve attention and require individualized treatment.
In just over a month, the country has seen a 78.3% increase in new Covid cases. In the last week of April, data showed a rolling average of 14,600 new diagnoses. As of May 31, the number has risen to 26,032.
Otorhinolaryngologist and coordinator of the medicine course at Uniderp, Alexandre Cury points out that knowing the main differences between these viral infections can be a good way to know when to go to the hospital or do a more targeted treatment. and efficient. “Covid-19, the flu and the common cold are illnesses that affect the respiratory system and can therefore have very similar symptoms such as fatigue, stuffy nose, sore throat and even fever. However, they have certain characteristics that allow their differentiation,” comments the specialist.
How to identify that it is time to look for a hospital?
Whatever the cause, in the event of symptoms, care such as wearing a mask, washing hands and frequently applying hydroalcoholic gel, avoiding close contact with other people, in addition to resting and drinking plenty of fluids are general recommendations and it is important to always have an assessment by your GP.
However, a hospital evaluation is necessary when presenting with warning symptoms which are generally more intense symptoms, such as those described below:
• Persistent fever;
• Intense and generalized muscle pain;
• Feeling short of breath;
“In cases where Covid is suspected, the diagnosis must be confirmed by the RT-PCR test and home isolation strictly respected, so that there is no further spread of the virus. Check the evolution of symptoms is also essential”, emphasizes the doctor.
The disease does not always manifest in the same way, but generally the evolution of the condition is a good indicator:
• Influenza: the symptoms are more acute, it appears overnight with strong symptoms, such as fever and intense malaise.
• Cold: the evolution is slow and the symptoms are milder, such as a slight fever for example. It gets better in a few days.
•COVID-19: the evolution is generally progressive, with a worsening of the clinical picture. Another differential that can be remembered is the lack of sense of smell, very common in people with COVID-19, but rare in other cases.
It is important to always have the evaluation of an assistant doctor, in person or via telemedicine, who thus provides a medical evaluation without the patient having to go to the emergency room. In the presence of warning symptoms, face-to-face management at the hospital level is the most appropriate.