The common cold, flu or COVID-19?

As winter approaches amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re providing cold and flu sufferers with a touch of comfort. We’ve collated all the necessary information outlining the importance differences between the virus symptoms and those of the common cold and flu.

We know telling the difference between symptoms when you’re feeling under the weather isn’t easy, so to make things easier the BBC has put together a useful table to help you quickly identify your symptoms.



And for those cold and flu sufferers who want to quickly find out which symptoms the common cold and flu do and don’t share with COVID-19, we’ve pulled together a quick and ease guide 3-step guide for each illness:

COVID-19 or the common cold?

It is easier to tell the difference between symptoms of the common cold and COVID-19 than between the flu and COVID-19 because the two illnesses share fewer symptoms.

  1. Symptoms of COVID-19 that are not symptoms of the common cold:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Fever (a temperature over 37.8 degrees Celsius)
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste (usually sudden)
  • Diarrhoea (sometimes for children)
  1. Symptoms of the common cold that are not symptoms of COVID-19:
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  1. Symptoms that COVID-19 and the common cold share:
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing - although those suffering with COVID-19 are more likely to have a more severe, dry and continuous cough
  • Aches and pains - although this is more common for those suffering with a common cold
  • Sore throat - although this is more common for those suffering with a common cold

COVID-19 or the flu?

A lot Covid-19’s symptoms overlap with those of the flu, but there are some key differences that are useful to be aware of.

  1. Symptoms of COVID-19 that are not symptoms of the flu:
  • A loss or change to sense of smell or taste (usually sudden)
  • Shortness of breath
  1. Symptoms of the flu that are not symptoms of COVID-19:
  • A runny or stuffy nose
  1. Symptoms that COVID-19 and the flu share:
  • Fever (a temperature over 37.8 degrees Celsius)
  • Diarrhoea (especially for children)
  • Dry cough – although this is more continuous for those suffering with COVID-19
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue – although this is more common for those suffering with the flu
  • Headaches – although this is more common for those suffering with the flu
  • Aches and pains – although these are more common for those suffering with the flu

If in doubt about any of these, or other symptoms, always take recommended COVID-19 precautions and seek medical advice.

Practising good hygiene is important, but even more so as the weather changes and we enter flu season. We recommend using hot water and soap to wash your hands regularly, for at least 60 seconds, then drying with a clean dry towel. With the new Kleenex® Proactive Care range, you can be ready for every situation whether it is a cough or a sneeze. Help to reduce the spread of germs by catching it and binning it.

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