Flu vs. COVID-19: Fall 2020 Update

This is a common question this year. When COVID-19 first emerged earlier this year, it was often described as a serious, flu-like condition. But the reality is that the conditions are very different in most cases.

As we covered in our last blog, this year’s flu season is far more complex than normal. Similar symptoms will require thoughtful actions from patients in order to evaluate and stay safe.

That is why we have provided a new update and reminder for the start of the fall season: the peak season for seasonal illness spread and contagion. It’s important that you take steps to prevent both illnesses as we head into fall. Read on as our team at AFC Urgent Care Castle Rock offers some tips on how to do that and to protect your health.

Do COVID-19 and the Flu Have Similar Symptoms?

Yes. Many symptoms of COVID-19 mirror those of the flu, which can potentially make it difficult to tell the difference between the conditions without testing.

But there is a key difference—symptoms of the flu typically develop more quickly. You will usually develop the flu with one to four days after exposure, while COVID-19 can take longer to develop after you’ve come in contact with someone who is sick.

Flu Symptoms to watch for

Unless you have traveled to a COVID-19 hotspot, or have been in direct contact with a confirmed patient, then your seasonal illness symptoms are likely from the flu. If you start to feel sick this season without any major COVID-19 risks, then you may need to visit an urgent care provider.

The main types of flu symptoms to monitor include the following conditions:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Extreme fatigue

Do I Need to Get a Flu Shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that nearly everyone get a flu shot every year. But it’s especially important to be vaccinated this year.

That’s because the flu season, which lasts from October through March or April, will coincide this year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Outbreaks of both illnesses at one time could lead to many medical visits and hospitalizations, putting stress on our medical system. A flu shot can help you limit your risk.

Who Needs a Flu Shot

  • Nearly everyone age 6 months and older
  • Older adults
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with compromised immune systems

The CDC recommends receiving your flu shot by the end of October for maximum protection. Stop by AFC Urgent Care Castle Rock to get yours!