The common cold and influenza (flu) are contagious respiratory illnesses that spread easily throughout the general population. This is especially true during cold and flu season. The common cold and flu come with risks, but they tend to be manageable with proper treatment. 

However, the deadlier, more contagious COVID-19 can mimic these diseases, making early detection and testing essential. Mahajan Therapeutics Primary Care encourages everyone to get tested if they suspect they may have contracted COVID-19; this blog will help you spot the differences between the symptoms of cold, flu, and Coronavirus early so that you can receive the treatment you deserve.  

The Differences Between the Cold, Flu, and COVID-19 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a quick “self-checker” assessment tool that allows you to check your symptoms with ease. This free tool is a great place to start if you’re experiencing active symptoms. They provide a detailed list of similarities between cold, flu, and COVID-19. Here’s what the CDC recommends you look for:


COVID-19 and cold/flu share some signs and symptoms, these can range from asymptomatic presentations (no symptoms) to severe presentations (highly symptomatic). Commonly shared symptoms include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more prevalent with COVID-19


Differences in the time it takes to display symptoms vary by person, and COVID-19 infections often take longer to present themselves, making it easier for an infected person to spread the highly contagious disease. 

The CDC writes, “while the virus that causes COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, the virus that causes COVID-19 is generally more contagious than flu viruses. The virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continual spreading among people as time progresses.”

Don’t Wait

The ease of transmission and consequences of COVID-19 to public health make testing imperative. If you think you may have the virus, don’t wait to be tested—it can save your life and the lives of people around you. The CDC notes that some symptoms require immediate, emergent care. These include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds


If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek emergency care or dial 911

The risk of COVID-19 to public health is significant and should not be minimized. We recommend that you speak to your primary care provider about vaccinations for both the flu and COVID-19, as they are proven to be safe and effective at preventing severe illness.

The pandemic is evolving. New variants of COVID-19 are increasingly deadly. We recommend you practice proven safety measures such as frequent hand washing, mask-wearing, and vaccination if you’re able. If you think you may have contracted the cold, flu, or COVID-19, Mahajan Therapeutics offers world-class care right here in Ohio. Do not hesitate to contact us for testing and medical treatment. We’re here for you. 

Reach out today.