Discerning COVID-19 Symptoms From A Common Flu

Discerning COVID-19 Symptoms From A Common Flu

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus. People who were infected by such viruses would show a myriad of coronavirus symptoms.

Most of the respiratory symptoms developed by people who are infected by COVID-19 are:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath

If your little one develops any one of those symptoms, it’s a good idea to reach out for your paediatrician, just to be on the safe side.

This article will discuss the likelihood of our child being infected by COVID-19 and how to discern it from a seasonal or even, common flu.

How likely is it that my kid will get coronavirus symptoms?

coronavirus symptoms

Although there is no specific information regarding the population affected the most by this pandemic situation, coronavirus do infect people across all ages.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 and influenza have a very similar disease presentation.

If we want to look at how they differ, then it will be the infectious rate. Compared to the influenza, COVID-19 is much more infectious. 

For each infected individual, they can spread the disease in between 2 to 3 individuals at a time.

It’s dangerous as this virus has a pretty long incubation period (a time between the moment of infection to symptoms appearance). What’s worse is none of us would know.

Coronavirus symptoms can be tricky and people wouldn’t think twice to kiss their baby if they are symptom free.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of the COVID-19 cases involved the adult population.

Paediatric population seems only to develop mild coronavirus symptoms that require no hospitalisation.

A study which has been published in JAMA involving 72,314 cases in China has found that less than 1% of those cases are children aged 10 years and below.

This data is supported by other studies and CDC reports. Furthermore, the risk for a child to develop a severe complication from the illness stays at 6% which is much lower than the adult which is 18.5%.

How can we tell the difference between novel coronavirus symptoms and seasonal flu?

coronavirus symptoms

This can be tough especially both are respiratory viruses. We can only assume based on the current available pieces of evidence. 

However, if you were wondering if we can say with utmost certainty that someone has been infected by COVID-19 based on symptoms, the answer is no. Not without a test.

It’s helpful though to compare based on what has been recorded by CDC regarding the likelihood of a symptom to take place in a certain infective progression.

Let’s take common cold as an example:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss (sometimes)
  • Sneezing (sometimes)
  • Diarrhoea (uncommon)
  • Muscle aches (uncommon)

So how do those symptoms compare to novel coronavirus symptoms?

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea or nausea
  • Sneezing (sometimes)
  • Sore throat (sometimes)
  • Fatigues (sometimes)
  • Appetite loss (sometimes)
  • Shortness of breath (sometimes)
  • Chills (sometimes)
  • Muscle aches (sometimes)

You can make sense of the information right? There are a few atypical presentations which could lean towards a specific kind of diagnosis. 

However, when we include other common respiratory illnesses such as  influenza, the effort to compare can be quite laborious.

It will be easy to just go to a clinic or the nearest health facility and get tested.

What should I do if I suspect my kid has COVID-19?

coronavirus symptoms

Panicking is certainly not a good idea. If your children experienced a set of mild respiratory symptoms, you can reach out to your paediatrician for medical advice and probably grab a few medicines to alleviate symptoms.

However, if the symptoms are getting worse by the second, they will require immediate medical attention. Some coronavirus symptoms which can be related with severe progression of COVID-19 are:

  1. Chest pain (for older children).
  2. Choking, difficulty breathing or their face turns pale/blue.
  3. Difficulty in waking your baby up.

If you were taking care of a sick child at home, there are a few measures that can be undertaken to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19:

  1. Practise regular hand washing.
  2. Wear a face mask if you have one especially during handling of the sick baby.
  3. Don’t share any personal household items such as towels.
  4. Avoid touching your face which includes your eyes, nose and mouth.
  5. Keep every surface clean and wash them regularly.
  6. Avoid inviting in unnecessary visitors

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