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Home > Health Library > COVID-19 or Flu? How to Tell
COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptoms. The two can be hard to tell apart. The only way to know for sure which illness you have is to be tested.
Since the symptoms are so alike, it makes sense to act as if you have COVID-19 until your test results come back. This means staying home and limiting contact with people in your home. You'll need to wash your hands often and disinfect surfaces that you touch. And be sure to wear a mask when you're around other people. This is also good advice if you think you have the flu.
COVID-19 and the flu have these symptoms in common:
COVID-19 has another symptom that also may occur:
COVID-19 symptoms may appear from 2 to 14 days after infection.
Flu symptoms usually appear 1 to 4 days after infection.
It's important to get your yearly flu vaccine. Both the flu and COVID-19 can be active at the same time. You can get sick with both infections at once. And having both may make you more sick than getting just one.
The flu vaccine won't protect you from COVID-19. But it can help prevent the flu or reduce its symptoms. If fewer people get very ill with the flu, this will help free up medical resources that are needed for COVID-19 patients.
Current as of:
March 26, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Heather Quinn MD - Family MedicineLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 26, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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