Cold, Flu or COVID-19?

Symptoms of a cold, flu and COVID-19 can be similar. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following most common symptoms, all of which may vary from person to person. Please note that information continues to evolve about COVID-19.

Symptoms & Signs Cold Flu COVID-19
Symptom Timing Gradual Symptoms typically appear 1-4 days after infection Symptoms typically appear 5 days after infection, but can be as soon as 2 days and up to 14 days
Fever or feeling feverish Rare Sometimes Typical
Chills Uncommon Typical Typical
Headache Uncommon Typical Typical
Muscle pain or body aches Slight Typical Typical
Fatigue Sometimes Typical Typical
Cough Mild to moderate Typical Typical
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath Uncommon Typical Typical
Sore throat Common Sometimes Typical
Runny or stuffy nose Common Sometimes Typical
Sneezing Common Sometimes Not common
Vomiting and diarrhea Rare More common in children than adults Typical
New loss of taste or smell Uncommon Sometimes Typical

Colds, the flu and COVID-19 are caused by different viruses, and the difference can be undetectable by symptoms alone. Seek a test to confirm a diagnosis. Protect your community by staying home and avoiding interactions within 6 feet of others when experiencing any of the above symptoms. Please don’t delay care.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Sign Up for Health Tips

Get our advice and upcoming events about weight, pain, heart and more.

Take a Health Risk Assessment

Our health assessments can help you identify issues and areas to discuss with your doctor.