Novel Coronavirus, the Flu, and the Common Cold: 5 Differences You Must Know

China /
| 05 May 2020 | 12:14

A new strain from the SARS – CoV – 2, a virus that had an outbreak from 2002 to 2003, has been identified to cause the coronavirus disease 19, or more commonly known as COVID – 19.

With the virus plaguing the world late in 2019 up until the present, medical personnel and scientists have been working non-stop to analyze its dynamics. This is especially challenging when it’s so similar to the flu and the common cold, but is much deadlier.

The first outbreak was in Wuhan, China, and the virus is currently spreading all over the world, causing thousands of deaths per day. This can be linked to the rapid transmissions and high contagiousness of the virus, and the fact that most people don’t take their symptoms seriously because of how familiar they are to cold and flu.

Seeming Normalcy of the Symptoms

COVID – 19 shares almost all of the signs and symptoms that manifest when one has either the flu or a common cold. It is because of this that the novel virus was not easy to track during the first few months and the cases were merely dismissed.

This is not the case as of late, and it’s time that you make yourself aware of the severity of the situation.

Here are the 5 symptom differences you need to know, which indicate the deadly Novel Coronavirus.

1. Incubation Period

The COVID-19 virus has a long incubation period of up to 14 days, compared to the 3-4 days for the flu and common cold. This means that a person can be a host and a carrier of the virus without the symptoms appearing for 14 days.

This is why people who may have possibly been in contact with a positively infected person must be placed in quarantine for the duration of the incubation period to confirm infection or the lack thereof.

2. Manner of Transmission

Contrary to the first information released about the virus, it is not air-borne. However, the contagion can be incited by tiny droplets containing the virus being in contact from person to person. Unlike the flu virus and that of the common cold that can live on impermeable surfaces for hours.

According to an article by the Live Science, the COVID-19 virus can survive for days on plastics, metal, steel, glass, and other hard surfaces, but they are unable to remain active once subjected to high temperatures.

Because of this, it is not enough that you avoid people who are sick or were in contact with another sick person. Frequent hand-washing or use of alcohol based hand-sanitizer is highly suggested. Sanitizing surfaces with bleach or disinfectants can easily inactivate the virus within a minute. It is also important that you keep your hands away from your face, nose, eyes, and ears to reduce the chances of the virus getting into your respiratory system.

3. An Attack on the Respiratory System

“Unlike the common cold and the flu, the COVID-19 isn’t just an indication that your immune system is lowered. The virus directs its attack towards the respiratory system, therefore causing symptoms that we are all familiar with, like the loss of appetite, body aches, nasal congestion, sore throat, and shortness of breath,”says Dr.N. Rajkumari,an infectious disease specialist at Doctorspring.

Most of the deaths; however, are attributed to organ failure, particularly the lungs collapsing, but it can also attack the heart, the kidneys, the gut, the liver, and other vital organs.

Because of this, those who biologically have deteriorating body systems are most likely to take the hard-hit from the virus, namely the elderly and those who have existing respiratory conditions.

It can start as simple as a fever and a dry cough, and will suddenly escalate to pneumonia, limiting the patient’s oxygen intake and potentially causing death. Though there is a good chance of surviving, survivors have had irreparable damages to the linings of their lungs, forever impairing their breathing and health.

4. The Immune System is the Forefront.

Since the signs and symptoms are indicative of the virus’ power, the dry cough and runny nose is only the beginning of the battle. Unlike with flu where these symptoms are only prolonged if untreated, they are just the first sign of worse to come with COVID-19.

Clinicians had traced the effects of the COVID-19 virus and they determined that if the immune system is low enough and it can get through, it will go straight for thinner internal branches of the lungs, where oxygen passes through.

When your body attacks these antibodies through the white blood cells in these areas, it leaves an aftermath of fluid and pus, thus causing pneumonia. Oxygen levels may plummet, destroying the lungs.

5. Treatment

As of today, there are only testing kits available for possible COVID-19 patients, but there is no viable cure. Antiviral drugs are usually administered by medical staff to help patients fight the virus and recuperate, but it is not as effective as treatment for the flu.

Medicine that alleviates the common symptoms may be given to avoid further deterioration from dehydration and over-fatigue.

Although an infected person is often able to recuperate in the comfort of their homes, severe cases will have to be delegated to hospital care, where they will be admitted for an average of 11 days, which is twice that of flu patients. The critical condition of these said patients may even require mechanical ventilation or a supplemental oxygen tank to aid their breathing.

Given these comparisons, it goes without saying that the COVID-19 situation is already dire and complicated, and there are insufficient studies to provide us with the complete battle plan against the virus. However, with well-implemented social distancing and enough government aid for hospitals and medical staff, there is a chance for total recovery.

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