Coronavirus, flu or the common cold?


The COVID-19 coronavirus has infected more than 180,000 people around the world, leading to major economic turmoil, unprecedented quarantines, the cancellation of major sporting events and a severe restriction on U.S. travel from Europe.
With all the attention paid to the virus, it’s understandable that many people who become ill wonder whether they have the coronavirus, flu or the common cold.
Review the chart below to help distinguish between the viruses (click or tap to enlarge).

Coronavirus infographic

One way to help differentiate between the cold, flu and coronavirus is to pay attention to the speed at which symptoms develop. Cold and coronavirus symptoms typically come on gradually, according to the World Health Organization, whereas flu symptoms often present suddenly.


Practicing good hand hygiene and other health practices can help protect you from all three illnesses. In the case of the flu, a vaccine exists, and it’s still not too late to benefit from it.

Other ways to help keep yourself healthy and prevent the spread of illness:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you become ill.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you are ill and concerned about your condition, call your health care provider and discuss your symptoms. In case of emergency, dial 911.
For the latest coronavirus information from the CDC, go here. You can also find information through the South Carolina Department of Health and Environment Control by going here. Visit the Tidelands Health coronavirus information center by going here.

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