COVID-19, Flu & Common Cold Symptoms and Difference

Corona Vs. Flu & Common Cold

COVID-19, Common Cold and Flu share some similar symptoms. However, in reality there are some noticeable differences among them. Let’s find out how one can differentiate between Corona Virus, Flu and Common Cold.


1. Incubation Period:

  • COVID -19: The incubation period of COVID-19 is 14 days with an average median time of 5 days. This means a patient with COVID-19 disease get to see the symptoms after five days of contracting it.
  • Common Cold: The incubation period of common cold is 1-3 days.
  • Flu: The incubation period of Flu is 1-4 days.

2. Symptoms Onset:

  • COVID-19: The COVID-19 symptoms come up gradually, usually in 5 to 9 days. One can’t  notice them immediately.
  • Common Cold & Flu: The symptoms of common cold and Flu are immediate.

3. Fever:

  • COVID-19: A patient with COVID- 19 disease gets mild to high grade fever.
  • Flu: Patient suffers high grade fever in Flu.
  • Common Cold: One rarely gets feverish symptoms in common cold.

 4. Cough:

  • COVID-19: Contracted patients have reported dry cough (without mucus) as one of them main symptom of Corona Virus.
  • Flu: Dry cough is very rare in Flu.
  • Common Cold: Mild to moderate dry cough is a common in cold.

5. Runny Nose:

  • COVID-19 & Common Cold: Runny or Stuffy nose is a noticeable symptom in COVID-19 & Cold.
  • Flu: It’s not very common in Flu.

6. Diarrhea:

  • COVID-19 & Flu: You may get a feeling of vomiting in COVID-19 & Flu.
  • Common Cold: It is very rare in case of cold.

7. Body Aches:

  • COVID-19: Body ache is a rare symptom in COVID-19
  • Flu: Body ache is very common in flu.
  • Cold: It is very rare in common cold.

8. Headache:

  • COVID-19: Headache is very rare in COVID-19
  • Flu: Headache in very common in Flu.
  • Common Cold: It is very rare in cold.

9. Shortness of Breath:

  • COVID-19: Patient feels shortness of breath in COVID-19.
  • Flu: Patient sometimes feels shortness of breath in Flu
  • Cold: Shortness of breath is very mild in cold.

10. Loss of Appetite:

  • COVID-19: Patient sometimes feels loss of appetite in COVID-19
  • Flu: Loss of appetite is very common in Flu.
  • Cold: Appetite of a patient remains normal in cold.

11. Sore Throat:

  • COVID-19: Sore throat is a very common symptom of COVID-19.
  • Flu: Patient sometimes reports a problem of sore throat.
  • Cold: Sore throat is a common symptom in cold.

12. Pneumonia:

  • COVID-19: In mid to severe cases, patient suffers from Pneumonia.
  • Flu: In very rare circumstances patient suffers from Pneumonia.
  • Cold: It is very rare in cold.

Severity of the Disease

As per World Health Organization, COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus. It spreads through contact with an infected person. WHO has classified the disease into three categories:

  • Mild
  • Severe and
  • Critical

Around 85% of the cases are Mild and doesn’t require any hospitalization. Whereas 15% of the cases are sever and 5% are critical. Patients who are at critical stage require ventilator support.


As of now, there is no approved antibiotic in the world to treat COVID-19. However, some countries have claimed to develop an antibiotic to treat the disease and is currently in testing phase. It may take some time to reach the the markets.

For a Mild case, a person should contact doctor immediately and take medicines as prescribed. They must stay at home and make social distancing from others.

For Severe to Critical case, a person requires hospitalization to treat the disease.


The best way to prevent the disease from spreading is:

  • Wash your hand regularly and use a hand sanitizers
  • Make social distancing
  • Stay at home
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes & nose
  • Wear N-95 mask if required
  • Don’t go outside until its very necessary


COVID-19, Flu and Common Cold have many symptoms in common, but remember there is vaccination available for Flu and Common Cold, and not for COVID-19. Corona is a new & fatal virus. Scientists are still trying to understand its genetic structure. It’s very contagious disease with mortality rate of 3% to 4%.

So as advised by WHO and other medical professionals take necessary precautions to stop its spread. Stay at home and break the chain. Only then we can control this pandemic diseases.

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