All data and also statistics are based on publicly accessible data at the moment of publication. Some details may be the end of date. Visit ours coronavirus hub and follow our live to update page because that the many recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

You are watching: How to tell if i have covid or a cold


While the usual cold and COVID-19 have the right to cause similar symptoms, they are distinct conditions. Because that example, one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever, i m sorry is rarely in world with colds.


COVID-19 likewise causes an ext varied symptoms than colds and also has a greater risk of significant complications.

This write-up discusses the differences between the symptoms of usual colds and COVID-19. It likewise looks in ~ other distinctions in exactly how they transmit from human being to person, accessible treatments, and potential complications.

If a human being suspects castle may have actually the symptom of COVID-19, they need to self-isolate and also contact a doctor via telephone for advice.

Stay notified with live to update on the present COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for an ext advice top top prevention and also treatment.


Is COVID-19 comparable to the common cold?

*
Share ~ above Pinterestsestovic/Getty Images
Colds and also COVID-19 have actually some similarities. Both construct as a an outcome of a respiratory virus, dispersing from human being to person through droplets the come native the nose and also mouth. However, it is vital to remember the they are different.

A human being can develop COVID-19 together a an outcome of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, i beg your pardon is a kind of coronavirus. There are 4 coronaviruses that most often reason the common cold in humans. SARS-CoV-2, however, causes a different illness.

Compared through colds, COVID-19:

causes much more varied symptomshas a greater risk of complications and also fatality
Symptoms that the usual cold vs. COVID-19

The typical cold deserve to cause:

a runny or stuffy nosesneezingreduced sense of smell or taste

These symptoms can additionally occur in world with COVID-19. However, COVID-19 can also cause:

new loss of smell or taste

Many of this symptoms, consisting of fever, body aches, and also gastrointestinal symptoms, room uncommon in world with colds. Lock are much more likely to it is in the an outcome of COVID-19 or another viral illness, such as influenza, typically known together flu.

Not everyone with COVID-19 experiences every one of these symptoms. Some human being may have similar symptoms to a cold, through no fever. Others might only have a lose of smell or taste, and some may have no symptom at all.

According come the human being Health company (WHO), some various other less typical symptoms the COVID-19 include:

conjunctivitis (pink eye)dizzinesssleep disruption
Share ~ above Pinterest
Key differences

In enhancement to having various symptoms, COVID-19 and colds also differ in how they spread, your severity, and their treatment.

Transmission

The viruses that reason the typical cold and COVID-19 spread via contact with respiratory tract droplets. Civilization can inhale this droplets after who sneezes, coughs, or talks. If a human being inhales droplets comprise a virus, castle may become unwell.

Viruses that cause the common cold can survive top top surfaces, objects, and the hand for about 24 hours. However, follow to the Centers for disease Control and also Prevention (CDC), SARS-CoV-2 largely spreads through close call with who who has actually the virus.

In part cases, SARS-CoV-2 may spread with respiratory droplets that have end up being airborne. This method that in part situations, the virus may spread through the air also if a person is end 6 feet (ft) far from anyone v the virus. However, this is much less common.

People with COVID-19 often tend to build symptoms around 5–6 days after exposure, although it have the right to take approximately 14 days. Through comparison, colds typically reason symptoms in ~ a few days.

Severity

Most civilization who construct colds suffer mild to moderate symptoms and also then recover in 7–10 days there is no hospital treatment.

Some people may walk on to develop an additional infections, such as sinusitis or an ear infection. Doctors generally treat these with antibiotics. Human being with weaker immune systems might be breakable to much more serious complications, such together pneumonia.

However, human rhinoviruses, which space responsible for many colds, space usually self-limiting in otherwise healthy adults, an interpretation they clear up on their very own without any type of special treatment.

By comparison, COVID-19 has actually a higher risk of resulting in severe symptoms and complications than a cold. According to the WHO:

80% of civilization who construct COVID-19 recoup without hospital treatment15% of civilization with COVID-19 end up being severely ill and require oxygen therapyaround 5% of civilization with COVID-19 become critically ill and also require extensive care

Complications the COVID-19 deserve to include:

thromboembolismorgan damage or failure

Some people also develop “long COVID,” or post-COVID syndrome, i m sorry occurs once their symptoms linger for weeks or months.

Learn much more about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 here.

Treatment

COVID-19 treatment may vary depending upon a who symptoms. Doctors might use:

monoclonal antibodies

Clinical trials for other COVID-19 treatments are ongoing, so brand-new effective treatments may arise in the future. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines may prevent the illness.

There is no cure because that the typical cold. However, over-the-counter medications, such together acetaminophen and decongestants, may assist those with COVID-19 and also those through the usual cold come cope v symptoms.


Anyone who thinks they could have COVID-19 should call their local health authority or doctor. A healthcare experienced will be able to carry out advice ~ above what to execute next and also may species a COVID-19 test. Human being should not visit a clinical facility there is no contacting the first.

If a person has actually symptoms such together a fever, cough, or loss of taste or smell, the CDC recommend:

staying at homeisolating oneself from the remainder of the household, using a different bedroom and bathroom where possiblewearing a face mask that covers the nose and also mouth if living v other civilization or petswashing the hands frequently with soap because that 20 seconds, an especially after coughing, sneezing, making use of the bathroom, or dealing with foodcleaning and also disinfecting surface that civilization touch often, such as door handlesmonitoring symptoms and also contacting a medical professional if lock worsen

People who have actually underlying health conditions should call a doctor if castle have any type of symptoms that could indicate COVID-19.

See more: How To Send 50Mb File Through Email A Large File, Send Large Files With Outlook

People with the symptom of a cold who are unwell for over 10 work or who are experiencing significant or inexplicable symptoms should additionally seek clinical advice.