coronavirus

Coronavirus Vs. Cold: A Look at the Symptoms

Here's a breakdown of the symptoms for each

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As the list of symptoms for coronavirus continues to evolve, many may be wondering if they have COVID-19 or just a cold.

Congestion or a runny nose is now considered a symptom of COVID-19, according to the latest update from the nation's top health agency. That's in addition to several other symptoms previously released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But how does coronavirus differ from the cold?

Here's a breakdown of the symptoms for each.

Coronavirus

Though the CDC says its list does not include all possible symptoms and will continue to be updated as more information related to coronavirus is discovered, the full list of key symptoms currently includes:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The World Health Organization also breaks down its list of symptoms by severity, including other potential symptoms like conjunctivitis, rash or discoloration of fingers and toes, and loss of speech or movement.

Most common symptoms:

  • fever.
  • dry cough.
  • tiredness.

Less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhoea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes.

Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • chest pain or pressure.
  • loss of speech or movement.

Skin doctors have also been looking at feet amid concern over a condition dubbed "COVID toes." The condition brings red, sore and sometimes itchy swellings on toes that look like chilblains, something doctors normally see on the feet and hands of people who’ve spent a long time outdoors in the cold.

According to the CDC, anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
Coronavirus cases are spiking across the U.S. and the largest increase is among people aged 20 to 44. Natasha Bhuyan, a medical provider and regional director for One Medical, explains how social gatherings are leading to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Cold

According to the CDC, symptoms of a cold usually peak within two to three days and can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mucus dripping down your throat (post-nasal drip)
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever (although most people with colds do not have fever)

"When viruses that cause colds first infect the nose and air-filled pockets in the face (sinuses), the nose makes clear mucus. This helps wash the viruses from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This is normal and does not mean you need an antibiotic," the CDC reports. "Some symptoms, particularly runny nose, stuffy nose, and cough, can last for up to 10 to 14 days, but those symptoms should be improving during that time."

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