Medical Report: Flu, COVID-19 or RSV — which one do I have?

A shelf of cold and flu medicine is empty at a CVS pharmacy on Dec. 6.
A shelf of cold and flu medicine is empty at a CVS pharmacy on Dec. 6. Photo credit Mario Tama/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The so-called “tripledemic” — influenza, COVID-19 and RSV — is in full swing. The vast majority of symptoms among all three are the same. So one of the most common questions doctors get is “How do I tell which one I have?”

One potential difference is incubation time. RSV takes about four to six days to appear after exposure. COVID-19 takes about three to four. Flu, on the other hand, develops quite suddenly — about two days after exposure.

However, it is often hard to trace back to when exposure occurs.

The most important point is this: We don’t have to guess. You can be tested for all three.

And because they are all serious, it is better to know for certain and get rapid treatment if needed.

​​KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images