What is the difference between COVID-19 and the common cold?

Coronavirus Local Impact

CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – It’s cold and flu season in most of the United States and with the coronavirus pandemic still raging on, how can people tell the difference between the two common illnesses?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the two illnesses share a number of similar symptoms as both are caused by a virus. Ordinarily, people with COVID-19 can expect to experience such symptoms as: fever, muscle aches, tiredness, fever, and loss or changes to sense of taste or smell. Many of these symptoms are much less likely to develop when experiencing a cold but are possible. A full list of possible symptoms of both illnesses is below.

Symptom or signCOVID-19Cold
CoughUsually (presents dry)Usually
Muscle achesUsuallySometimes
TirednessUsuallySometimes
SneezingRarelySometimes
Sore throatUsuallyUsually
Runny or stuffy noseUsuallyUsually
FeverUsuallyRare
DiarrheaSometimesNever
Nausea or vomitingSometimesNever
Loss of taste or smellUsually (early — often without a runny or stuffy nose)Sometimes (especially with a stuffy nose)
ChillsUsuallyRare
HeadacheUsuallyRare

According to the CDC, COVID-19 can be spread 1 or more days can pass between when a person becomes infected and when they starts to notice symptoms. Additionally the CDC notes that while COVID-19 can lead to serious complications colds typically do not.

The CDC urges that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 be tested as soon as possible and minimize exposure to others while waiting on test results.

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