When Should I Worry About...

Flu Vs. COVID-19: How Can You Tell the Difference?

Oct. 21, 2021 - Daniel Ford

Flu season is here. If you’re feeling under the weather, how do you know if it’s the flu or COVID-19?

Because the two viruses can look so similar, it's critical you know the common symptoms and what to do if you feel sick. Remember: Even if you’ve had your COVID-19 and flu vaccines, breakthrough infection is still possible. 

The flu and COVID-19 are both viral respiratory diseases that can cause fever, cough, body aches and fatigue. They are spread in similar ways — from person to person through close contact via respiratory droplets — with symptoms that can range from mild to severe. In some cases, there are no perceptible symptoms at all.

So, if you get sick, how do you know if it's the flu or COVID-19? Based on your symptoms alone, you may not be able to tell the difference.

flu and covid symptoms


Concerned you may have the flu or COVID-19? Get screened quickly.

If you feel sick, regardless of the reason, your first step should be to get screened. You can schedule a virtual appointment with a primary care doctor, visit a same-day clinic or use Houston Methodist Virtual Urgent Care. Video visits are available without an appointment, even on weekends and holidays. Our providers can help you determine if COVID-19 testing is needed and, if you’re seeing a provider virtually, advise you on where you should go.

If your symptoms are severe, such as high fever and/or severe shortness of breath, you may need to go to your nearest emergency room. To the extent possible, call ahead to inform the emergency room staff that you're concerned you may have COVID-19.


Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine

The best way to stay safe and help minimize the spread of COVID-19 is to get your vaccine. To get your free Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, you can walk in to one of our 7 locations or schedule an appointment online.


Categories: When Should I Worry About...
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