Is Your Ailment a Cold, the Flu or COVID-19?

Deborah German, MD Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean, UCF College of Medicine

You’re sick with coughing, sneezing and a fever. Do you have a cold, the flu or COVID-19? All three are contagious respiratory illnesses with similar symptoms. The only way to tell for certain that you have COVID-19 is through a diagnostic test, but here are some guidelines on symptoms of a cold, the flu and COVID-19:

While there is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19 or the common cold, we have a flu vaccine that can protect you from the flu virus or reduce your symptoms if you do get sick. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to get a flu shot – and remember it takes two weeks after you get your vaccine for your body to produce protective antibodies. So get your vaccine now.

Physical distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask in public reduce the spread of all three of these viruses. In fact, some public health officials believe we may have fewer cases of the flu this year thanks to so many people following COVID-19 safety protocols.

If you feel sick, don’t diagnose yourself. Call your healthcare provider – don’t just show up to the clinic. Your provider can determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19 and what treatments you need.

COVID-19 health tips are brought to you by UCF’s Academic Health Sciences Center (AHSC), which includes the Colleges of Health Professions and Sciences (CHPS), Medicine, Nursing and Student Health Services.