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What is the difference between the coronavirus and the flu?

The number of coronavirus cases is growing since the end of January, more than 120,000 people have contracted COVID-19, according to official reports. Growing panic has led to stock markets crashing, and some supermarkets have started rationing stocks of essential food and household items, at least in countries like the UK and Italy.

Despite the level of alert and the increasing rate of infections, deaths related to COVID-19 remain relatively low . However, everyone seems concerned about this pandemic and wondering what differentiates the seasonal flu from this new coronavirus. For starters, the new coronavirus is not like the seasonal flu, even though the symptoms are similar (aches and pains, fever, sore throat).

Hundreds of researchers around the world are working frantically to find a vaccine for COVID-19, but the development process takes months and it is likely too late for the outbreak we are experiencing right now.

The differences:

The common cold is caused by a different strain of virus than COVID-19.

Most coronaviruses, like the common cold, cause mild upper respiratory infections and produce relatively mild symptoms, such as a stuffy nose, headache, and sore throat.

People who contract COVID-19 suffer from a cough, shortness of breath, and fever. The infection can also cause pneumonia , kidney failure, and, in the most severe cases, death.

On the other hand, the flu is caused by several different influenza viruses. The flu is highly infectious and spreads easily to other people , and is likely to be passed to another person during the first five days of infection. Flu symptoms can be slightly more severe than those associated with the common cold, are more severe, and usually appear suddenly. Some people experience loss of appetite, diarrhea, or stomach pain and weakness. In the most severe cases, the flu can also cause pneumonia.

In most of the population, symptoms of the common cold generally peak within the first two to three days of infection, while the effects of COVID-19 appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. Thus, unlike the flu, the symptoms of the new coronavirus can appear more slowly and it is especially sensitive to the elderly and people with other medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart conditions.

What you can do to minimize the infection rate

Avoid shaking hands, wash your hands frequently with soap and water (only 2 out of 10 people usually wash their hands regularly after using the bathroom, according to the French Ministry of Health), avoid touching your face and use an approved mask if you are sick . Do not go directly to the doctor’s office, because you run the risk of infecting more people. Such actions can limit new infections as with the flu, gastrointestinal illnesses, and other infectious diseases.

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