Coronavirus symptoms vs cold: how do they compare?

Coronavirus symptoms vs cold: how do they compare?


Since it was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2o19, coronavirus disease — now known as COVID-19 — has spread around the world, and frankly, it hit at the most appropriate time especially for the U.S.: cold and flu season. While colds and flu are technically present year-round in the U.S., their busy season starts ramping up in October, tends to peak between December and February, and can last until May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But this year, in addition to being concerned about influenza and other respiratory viruses, people are also concerned about COVID-19 — the symptoms of which, unfortunately, look very similar to those that accompany colds and flu.


Fortunately, despite some similarities, coronavirus and your standard, there are also some very significant differences in run-of-the-mill cold. coronavirus symptoms vs cold Here’s what to know, according to experts, when it comes to common cold versus coronavirus.


Some common cold is actually a type of coronavirus

Yes, you read that right: don’t get confused with the common human coronavirus- the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, currently circulating — can cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold, per the CDC. Indeed, most people will become infected with one or more of these viruses at some point in their lives. -According to Marie-Louise Landry, infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine and director of the Yale Clinical Virology Laboratory, four common human coronavirus cause 15-30% of the common cold. (Often, though, coronavirus symptoms vs cold the common cold is caused by rhinovirus, per CDC). Their peak season is also winter-aka, at the same time as influenza. 

However, what we’re currently dealing with is a new or novel coronavirus, “meaning it somehow mutated and became more deadly,” explains Jeremy Brown, Md., director of the Office of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health and author of Influenza’s: coronavirus symptoms vs cold Centennial victims to treat the deadliest disease in history. “That’s what happened when SARS and MERS happened. They also have coronavirus that changed and became much more deadly.


How do coronavirus symtoms compare to comman cold symtoms?

COVID-19 and common cold share many of the same respiratory symptoms. According to the CDC, cold symptoms usually peak within two to three days and often include the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • cough
  • Drip after nose
  • Water Eyes
  • Fever (most people with this a rare-cold sit not get fever)

While some of those cold symptoms — especially runny nose, suffocating nose, and cough — may last for up to 10 to 14 days, they will typically improve during that time, according to the CDC.

As for coronavirus symptoms, the CDC says all reported coronavirus diseases range from mild symptoms to death for severe illness and confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms of COVID-19 usually appear two to 14 days after exposure and include:

  • Fever
  • cough
  • Shortness of breath

Fortunately, while there have been reports of serious illness and death related to coronavirus, most confirmed cases have mild symptoms, according to a study published in The Lancet. Less common symptoms, according to the study, include a sore throat and runny nose, just 5% of patients reported; coronavirus symptoms vs cold and diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, 1-2% of patients reported. Pneumonia is also common among COVID-19 patients, even whose cases are not severe, according to the New York Times.


How severe is coronavirus compared to the common cold?

Colds typically do not result in any serious health issues such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalization, or deaths — that are very different from the flu, which, according to the World Health Organization, results in 290,000 to 650,000 deaths globally each year (WHO).

The severity of coronavirus is not quite so cut and dry, although it is significantly more severe than the common cold. As of March 23, more than 334,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported, according to who. At the beginning of March, the WHO reported that COVID-19 had a global mortality rate of 3.4%. However, another recent report in the journal Nature Medicine provides somewhat less serious calculations. In patients with Wuhan, China, symptoms, researchers estimated that the overall risk of dying was 1.4%.


How do treatment and prevention methods differ between coronavirus and the common cold?

Honestly, they really don’t. There’s no cure for a cold, per CDC, and the same goes for COVID-19 (though researchers are currently working on finding a treatment and possible vaccine for new coronavirus). That said, if you develop coronavirus-related fever and other symptoms, it is wise to call your doctor to determine the next steps.

Covid-19 and common cold also have almost identical prevention methods, according to the CDC. Those include your typical cold and flu prevention methods, such as washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water; Not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with underhand; avoiding close contact with sick people; Staying at home when you are sick; And often disinfect touched objects and surfaces.

The information in this story is correct as press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to develop, it is possible that some data has changed since publication. While health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to report and recommendations for their communities on the CDC, WHO, and resources by using their local public health department as Remain informed.



One thought on “Coronavirus symptoms vs cold: how do they compare?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *