COVID-19 vs Flu

Jul 2022

COVID-19 and Flu: What is the difference?

Flu and COVID-19 both pose a risk to our health this winter. Both viruses have many similar symptoms and it can often be difficult for individuals to establish what is making them unwell. Knowing what virus, you are dealing with can help protect you, aid recovery and prevent infecting other

How are COVID-19 and Flu similar?

COVID-19 and Flu are both highly contagious respiratory illnesses, meaning they impact a person’s lungs and breathing, and can easily spread to other people.  

The viruses that cause COVID-19 and the Flu spread in similar ways. For example, if a person touches a contaminated surface and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes.

They can also spread through respiratory droplets, which are released by sneezing, coughing or talking. This usually occurs when people are within 2 meters of each other.

What symptoms do COVID-19 and Flu have in common?

Flu and COVID-19 have a lot of symptoms in common such as:

· Fever

· Cough

· Tiredness

· Shortness of breath

· Runny nose

· Muscle Aches

· Vomiting and Nausea

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

COVID-19 and Flu have several differences, such as causes, complications and treatments. They also have different severity levels and are prevented with different vaccines.

Flu is a common infectious virus that is caused by influenza A and B viruses. You can catch flu all year round however cases usually spike during winter months, which is why it is also known as seasonal flu. On the other hand, COVID-19 only emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, this strain of coronavirus hadn’t been seen in humans before.

Flu and COVID-19 symptoms

In terms of symptoms, COVID-19 symptoms generally appear 2-14 days after exposure, whereas Flu symptoms tend to appear about 1-4 days after exposure.

A common occurrence with COVID-19 is that individuals often experience loss of taste or smell. Severe cases can also cause lung injury which is more frequent in COVID-19 in comparison to Flu.

COVID-19 and Flu prevention

Getting vaccinated is your best possible defence against COVID-19 and Flu! Receiving an annual Flu Vaccine can help reduce your risk of catching the flu, as well as decrease the severity of symptoms, and potential complications. The Flu virus adapts each year, therefore to ensure you are fully protected annual vaccination is necessary. For more information on Flu vaccines visit our Flu Page.

There are also a variety of steps you can take to reduce your risk of catching Flu or COVID-19 and prevent infecting others.

The world health organisation recommends the following:

  • Avoid close contact (2 metres) with anyone who is showing symptoms of Flu and COVID-19
  • Keep your hands clean! Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Keep your nose and mouth covered when you sneeze or cough using either tissue or your elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Keep surfaces clean! Disinfect high-touch surfaces such as counters, electronics, light switches and doorknobs regularly.

Taking these precautionary measures can help you stay healthy and reduce your risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 or the flu. For more information on Flu vaccines and Flu clinics contact Kays Medical on 0151 482 2850 or email

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