Is it the flu or COVID-19? Here's how to tell the difference

Influenza vs. COVID-19
Photo credit Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — We’re heading for the holidays in the midst of the nastiest flu season in years. But how can the average person know if those “flu-like symptoms” are from influenza — or COVID-19? KYW Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough has some pointers for how to tell the difference.

“COVID and the Flu can be spread in similar ways,” McDonough said. “When you look at the spread and severity, COVID-19 appears to be contagious for a longer period of time than the flu. Flu symptoms, actually, can come on in one to four days after exposure, while COVID-19’s two to 14 days after exposure.”

McDonough says if you’re at a large gathering, such as a Christmas party, and you get sick the next day, it’s much more likely to be the flu. If it happens a few days later, it’s likely to be COVID-19.

“We’re really testing people for COVID, flu, and RSV,” he says. “If you have questions, I would call your doctor and get the screening if you think you need it.

“With both flu and COVID, if you get treatment on board quickly, it can make a difference,” he adds.

He also suggests getting vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu in order to stay safe.

We also talk about a new study that suggests eating more flavanols — the antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables — can help your memory as you get older.

Listen to the full conversation:

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images