COVID, RSV, or the Flu? How to tell.
As fall transitions into winter, viruses are abound!
Increased time indoors, less exercise and sunshine, holiday travel, frequent social gatherings, and rapid fluctuations in temperature all put pressure on our immune systems. Now, in 2022, we find ourselves battling not one, not two, but THREE different famous families of viruses. "Ah, Humbug!"
Given this news, if you find yourself feeling unwell, how can you tell the difference between them all? What can you do to protect yourself?
SYMPTOMS OF COVID AND THE FLU
Both COVID and the flu share the following symptoms: fever, chills, headache, cough, muscle soreness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, runny nose, and sore throat.
As a general principle (although not always guaranteed), COVID usually presents a clear loss of taste or smell. COVID also tends to last longer than the flu, and may lead to "long COVID" symptoms. Serious cases of COVID and the flu can lead to hospitalization for anyone, but especially those with weakened immune systems due to age or underlying conditions.
SYMPTOMS OF RSV
Overall, RSV presents more like a cold (sore throat, runny nose, cough) with milder symptoms in most healthy adults. However, intense fever and wheezing can occur in infants and the elderly. Be on the lookout for rapid breathing, blue fingernails, and extreme exhaustion in small children, and take them to the nearest emergency care center if those symptoms occur.
HERE'S A HANDY CHART
HIGHER RISKS COME WITH AGE
The flu and COVID tend to be riskier for older adults, whereas RSV is primarily riskier for children (although anyone can get RSV).
HOW CAN I KNOW FOR SURE WHAT I HAVE?
At Advanced Urgent Care, we can test you for COVID as well as for RSV and the flu. Our team of medical professionals will evaluate your condition and medical history and make appropriate recommendations.
CAN I JUST TAKE ANTIBIOTICS AND GO HOME?
A common misconception is that antibiotics should be taken whenever one has a fever or feels sick. The truth is, antibiotics are designed to fight bacteria only. COVID, the flu, and RSV are all viruses, so antibiotics are not useful -- in fact, they may even worsen your condition.
WELL, WHAT CAN I DO?
If you feel yourself declining in a serious way, call your doctor, visit Advanced Urgent Care, or go to the nearest emergency clinic or hospital.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THESE HOLIDAY VIRUSES TO BEGIN WITH?
Anyhow, from everyone at Advanced Urgent Care: Happy Holidays!
Please enjoy yourself, stay safe, stay healthy, and remember we are here for you!
Advanced Urgent Care of the Florida Keys