Know the difference between COVID-19 and flu


New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) With 31 individuals diagnosed with the deadly novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in India, people are rushing to keep themselves protected. Amid the scare are myths, misconceptions and misinformation about common flu and the deadly coronavirus.

Here are the common symptoms of coronavirus: fever, difficulty in breathing, severe acute respiratory syndrome, cold and cough.

"People need not panic in case of any of the symptoms. They should get tested for flu initially, and only in case of negative results, should they undergo 'PCR Throat swab culture', which is used to diagnose COVID-19," said Pulmonologist Puneet Gupta.

In the middle of panic-inducing information and WhatsApp forwards, it can get difficult to actually tell if it is a flu or coronavirus infection.


According to health experts, massive awareness is needed to differentiate between COVID-19 and common flu.

"The outbreak of coronavirus throughout the world has created a panic. It is necessary to take preventive steps to check the spread of the coronavirus infection, but people are panicking over even seasonal flu," Puneet Gupta, Consultant Pulmonologist, Max Hospital in Noida, told IANS.

Though the symptoms of any viral infection are the same including cough, cold, high fever (may or may not be the case) accompanied by breathing difficulties; effects of flu are restricted to the respiratory tract only, the expert said.


So far, more than 95,000 people in 86 countries have been infected with the virus and more than 3,200 people have died.

"Coronavirus and Influenza are infectious respiratory illnesses. It's crucial to know that seasonal flu is different from coronavirus to reduce the panic," Tarun Sahani, Senior Consultant, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, told IANS.

"Coronavirus is life risking. Although both the illnesses can look similar, these are caused by different viruses. Antiviral medications are currently being tested to see if they can address coronavirus," Sahani said.