For months we’ve all been reading and hearing about a resurgence of the coronavirus combined with the flu. So…what does this mean?
Every year I hear the same question at the beginning of flu season: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER IT’S A COLD OR THE FLU? This season, the question is a little different: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHETHER IT’S A COLD OR THE FLU OR CORONAVIRUS?
There are some real differences.
Fever is rare with a cold. Fever is common with the flu. It’s usually high and lasts three or four days.
Headaches are rare with a cold but common with the flu.
Cold sufferers may have slight aches and pains. Flu sufferers have definite aches and pains which may be severe.
Extreme fatigue and/or weakness is just not a factor with a cold. Exhaustion is common with the flu – especially at the onset of the illness.
Sore throat, stuffy nose, and sneezing are common with a cold. A person suffering with a cold may have mild symptoms to include a hacking cough. With the flu, these symptoms can become severe.
With colds, treatment includes antihistamines, decongestants. With the flu, the patient needs to consult with a physician about any needed medication.
Coronavirus complicates things.
Many people experience fever as the first symptom of Coronavirus.
The second symptom is often a combination of a cough and muscle pain.
Nausea and vomiting make up the third tier.
These symptoms are usually followed by diarrhea.
And, that’s not all. Some people experience a loss of taste or smell.
And, some people experience deeply reddish-blue toes (chillblains).
Others have headache and dizziness.
The bottom line here is that coronavirus has many symptoms while colds and flu
are much less complicated.
If you suspect coronavirus, go get tested. Waiting around while you try to decide you are sick and contagious or not is not good for you and it’s not good for those around you.
There are several tools at your disposal which can help you early on.
A thermometer is essential. Take your temperature daily.
When I’m out in the community, my temperature is the key to getting into the office where I have an appointment.
The no-touch forehead fever thermometer gun has become ubiquitous on receptionists’ desks wherever I go.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t take your temperature every morning. Your temperature can accompany your blood pressure reading. You can keep your thermometer gun beside your blood pressure cuff.
Then, you only need one other item: a pulse oximeter. A pulse oximeter estimates the amount of oxygen in your blood.
If you have coronavirus, your pulse oximeter will register a lower oxygen level in your body. This is because with coronavirus, your lungs are inflamed. (Actually, with coronavirus, inflammation is all over your body).
So, if you are concerned about your health because you may become exposed to coronavirus, you can help yourself with your temperature, your blood pressure, and your oxygen level.
If you feel ill, you will help your healthcare professional with these three scores.
For those who aren’t really familiar with an oximeter, it is the little plastic clip placed on your finger when you get your blood pressure measured.
These devices are not that expensive, are easy to use, and you can find an explanatory chart which will explain the meaning of the score.
Whatever you decide, prevention is important. Wash your hands often, wear a mask always when you leave your home, use hand sanitizer and don’t go anywhere around other people if you can help it.
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