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Coronavirus vs.Influenza: Austin Public Health Outlines Differences

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Austin, Texas — The flu season is back, but this year it’s emerging against the backdrop of the coronavirus. Given the dual threat, Austin public health officials have outlined the distinction between both illnesses to warn the population involved.

With reference to materials provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health officials said both were infectious respiratory diseases, but were caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by an infection with a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, but influenza Influenza virus, Health officials said.

Similarities and differences

Symptoms: Common symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu include fever, cough, shortness of breath, malaise, sore throat, stuffy or stuffy nose, myalgia, and / or headache. Unlike the symptoms of influenza, the symptoms of COVID-19 may include loss of taste and odor.

Onset: With both COVID-19 and influenza, it can take more than a day after infection to develop symptoms. Both viruses can spread for at least a day before an individual experiences any symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 may take longer to appear than influenza. In the case of influenza, symptoms usually appear 1 to 4 days after infection. In the case of COVID-19, symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after infection.

Enlargement: Both COVID-19 and influenza can spread from person to person among people in close contact with each other within about 6 feet. Both illnesses are spread primarily by respiratory droplets when a person infected with the virus coughs, sneezes, or talks.


For coronavirus testing, COVID-19 Information City portal

Visit your healthcare provider, emergency care, or pharmacy for influenza testing


Danger: Both COVID-19 and influenza can cause serious illness and complications. The highest risk is for the elderly, people with underlying illness, and pregnant women. However, for healthy children, the risk of complications is higher with influenza compared to COVID-19.

Vaccines and treatments: Influenza has an annual vaccine that can be used to prevent the disease. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.


visit VaccineFinder.org To find a place near you that offers flu shots.


Influenza also has antiviral drugs that can reduce the severity and length of the disease if prescribed within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. For more information on COVID-19 COVID-19 Information Portal.

Graphic by Austin Public Health.

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