Covid, cold, flu: how to differentiate symptoms?

Published by Cécile D. · Published on 4 November 2021 at 09h59
With the colder weather, winter illnesses are back in France. Tonsilitis, flu, cold and gastroenteritis are breaking out again. But how to differentiate these viruses from Covid-19? Keep reading to find out more.

A cold spell, fatigue, sneezing, nauseas… No doubt, you are ill. Between the sudden drop of temperatures and the pandemic, it is hard to escape from viruses running around at the moment! Because Covid-19 is no longer the only viral threat we have to face for a few days now: flu, tonsilitis, cold and gastroenteritis are back in France and doctors are worried.

People are right to be worried. As the first symptoms of the illness are felt, how can one know if they caught a common virus or Covid-19? Here is how to distinguish the different illnesses running around this winter.

Some symptoms can be caused by several illnesses and are more or less intense. Others are almost exclusive to one or the other virus mentioned.

  • Sneezing: Covid (no, rarely), Cold (yes), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Fever: Covid (yes, high), Cold (sometimes, not very high), Flu (yes), Gastroenteritis (yes, moderate), Tonsilitis (yes)
  • Fatigue: Covid (yes, intense), Cold (yes, moderate), Flu (yes), Gastroenteritis (yes, moderate), Tonsilitis (yes)
  • Stuffed up nose: Covid (no), Cold (yes), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Nasal discharge: Covid (no, rarely), Cold (yes), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Sore throat: Covid (yes, likely), Cold (yes, common), Flu (yes, likely), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (yes, intense)
  • Coughing: Covid (yes, intense), Cold (yes, likely), Flu (yes, intense), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (yes)
  • Muscle pain: Covid (yes, intense), Cold (yes), Flu (yes, intense), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Headache: Covid (yes), Cold (yes), Flu (yes), Gastroenteritis (yes), Tonsilitis (yes)
  • Digestive disorder (i.e.: diarrhea): Covid (yes, likely), Cold (no), Flu (yes, likely), Gastroenteritis (yes), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Shortness of breath: Covid (yes), Cold (no), Flu (yes), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Throwing up: Covid (no), Cold (no), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (yes), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Loss of taste: Covid (yes), Cold (no), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)
  • Loss of smell: Covid (yes), Cold (no), Flu (no), Gastroenteritis (no), Tonsilitis (no)


If you have any doubt, self-isolate and get tested: this is the only way to know if you have caught Covid-19 or not. Then, whatever the result is, rest and take care of yourselves and people around you! Facemask-wearing and health guidelines enable to avoid most of diseases: please try to comply with health guidelines as well as you can.

Practical information

Comments
Refine your search
Refine your search
Refine your search
Refine your search