Both COVID-19 and influenza (flu) are respiratory illnesses that are spread from person to person. Both are viral infections. Tiny droplets containing the viruses can pass from someone with the infection to someone else, typically through the nose and mouth through coughing and sneezing. The virus can also live on surfaces. link
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, comparisons have been drawn to the flu virus. COVID-19 is not the flu or a variant of the flu. With over 307,537 deaths and over 5 million confirmed cases over a short period of time this pandemic continues to confound health services worldwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 symptoms can include:
Most children tend to have mild COVID-19 symptoms that are similar to a cold. They may have:
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, including heart disease (link,) diabetes, or lung disease appear to be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19, compared with people in younger age groups and those without underlying conditions.
Both the COVID-19 and the flu virus can be spread from a person showing no symptoms of either illness.
According to WHO;
- flu symptoms appear sooner, and it can spread faster than the COVID-19 virus
- the flu virus can have greater variation
- the transmission of the flu from children to adults is common
- it is more likely for adults to pass COVID-19 to children
- children show very few symptoms of COVID-19
- COVID-19 is more likely to lead to severe illness or death
The flu vaccine has been widely available for some years.
COVID-19 is a new virus and to date there is no vaccine for it. People are advised to;
- wash hands regularly
- avoid touching the face
- keeping at least 2m away from other people
- cover the mouth when sneezing or coughing (cough into elbow)
- immediate disposal of tissues
- stay at home if unwell
- work from home if possible
- avoid crowds and gatherings of any size
- some countries are advising wearing a mask in public places
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