Common Cold Vs. Covid-19

It’s pretty common to experience respiratory illnesses with a slight twist in the weather. However, after the COVID-19 pandemic, things have become a little complicated. Now, even a sneeze, cough, or sore throat might trigger anxiety and fear within the individuals.

Ailments like common cold and COVID-19 have striking similarities. Both these are respiratory infections transmitted through the virus by droplets coming from the nose and mouth. Despite taking all the precautionary measures, we are exposed to viruses causing the common cold, flu, and COVID-19.

These two diseases indeed have some overlapping symptoms, but there are certain key differences between the allergies of the common cold and COVID-19. The underlying signs and symptoms will help you distinguish between these two conditions.

If you think the situation is getting worse, opt for COVID-19 testing. Accordingly, you have to select the treatment plan that will help in speedy recovery.

So, let’s understand the two respiratory diseases and their symptoms. Further, we will also cover the key differences to take the right course of action for treatment.

What is Common Cold?

Going by the name common cold, it’s a prevalent respiratory disease that many individuals suffer. This is typically a viral infection caused by rhinoviruses affecting your nose and throat, but then it’s manageable most of the time. Although, you will face some minor troubles; and tips for accelerated post covid recovery takes around a week or 10 days.

Children below the age bracket of 6 are at greater risk, but adults can also experience the common cold two-three times annually. There are some measures to ease the symptoms and prevent the infection.

Symptoms of Common Cold

The signs and symptoms of a common cold usually vary from person to person. It starts to develop after two to three days of getting exposure to the virus causing the common cold. Here are some of the common symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Running or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild headaches and body aches
  • Feeling unwell

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a recent virus strain that causes infection in the nose, upper throat, and sinuses. This highly contagious SARS-COV-2 virus is transmitted through close-range aerosols and respiratory droplets like coughing, sneezing and even talking.

Generally, people diagnosed with comorbidity and the elderly group are more exposed to the severity. Some strains of the viruses are also affecting little children. As of now, the mandatory precautionary measures include mask care, washing hands, maintaining social distance, and getting tested after developing the symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The symptoms are usually developed after 2-14 days of exposure to the viruses. However, it’s also possible you may not show any symptoms. Moreover, the symptoms highly fluctuate where individuals can experience mild flu, while others may be critical enough to require immediate hospitalization. Some of the prevailing symptoms are mentioned below

  • Fever
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Congestion 
  • Sneezing

However, there can be some less familiar symptoms of COVID-19, which includes the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rashes
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Marked confusion
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep disruption

Key Differences Between Common Cold vs. COVID-19 

Transmission – Respiratory droplets are the primary source of transmission for both the viruses causing common cold and COVID-19. Mostly, people breathe in these droplets after sneezing, coughing, and talking. After the virus enters the body, the person gradually starts to feel unwell.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, SARS-COV-2 spreads through close proximity with a person already infected by the virus. In some cases, these respiratory droplets can transform into an airborne disease.

Although chances are less, viruses can survive from hours to days. While viruses causing the common cold can stay on surfaces, objects, and hands for almost 24 hours.

Generally, the symptoms of COVID-19 become apparent after 5-6 days and in few cases after 14 days. In comparison, the common cold usually develops the symptoms much earlier, within 2-3 days.

Severity- Common cold is a prevalent respiratory disease that usually recovers without any treatment at hospitals. The symptoms developed are typically mild to moderate and can take around 7-10 days to recuperate.

Human rhinoviruses responsible for the common cold are self-limiting in most individuals. It indicates these go away without any special treatment. Some secondary infections in the body and sinusitis may develop but can be treated with antibiotics. Though, a weaker immune system is prone to complications like pneumonia.

In contrast, COVID-19 symptoms are more severe and often lead to complexities in the individuals than a common cold. The majority affected by the SARS-CoV-2 recover without hospitalization treatment.

However, there are almost 15% who become seriously affected by COVID-19 and require oxygen therapy. Then, another 5% of people get critically ill to be treated at intensive care units. Complications of COVID-19 are also causing other problems like organ failure or damage, sepsis, thromboembolism, or acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Treatment – There is no permanent cure for the common cold. However, you can opt for popular treatment plans like over-the- counter cold medications and home remedies. Staying alert to the seasonal shifts, eating a healthy diet, and practicing good hygiene are most likely to save you from falling sick.

COVID-19 is also on a similar note, where there is no permanent cure for the disease. There are a few over-the-counter medicines and treatment methods approved by doctors which you can use:

  • Antiviral drugs like remdesivir
  • Steroid drugs like dexamethasone
  • Oxygen ventilators for breathing difficulties
  • Monoclonal antibodies

However, the good news is that vaccinated for Covid-19  have started worldwide, but still, precautions should be taken to avoid getting affected by the virus. To restrain the spread of the virus, wear masks, maintain social distancing, and adhere to good hygienic practices.

Also read: Vaccinated For Covid-19, Now What?

Final Words

Hopefully, now you have understood that the common cold and COVID-19 are entirely different. However, some of the symptoms appear to be familiar. In case you have suspicions, look for the Covid-19 test near me to get diagnosed. This will help you to get the proper treatment in time. Stay alert, take precautions and be safe!.


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