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Gambian rainy season. Covid-19, common cold, flu, seasonal allergies. What are the differences?

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You must go for a Covid-19 test if:

o          your symptoms of a cold do not improve after one week

o          your symptoms get suddenly worse

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o          your temperature is very high or you feel hot and shivery

o          you’re concerned about your child’s symptoms

o          you’re feeling short of breath or develop chest pain

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o          you have a long-term medical condition – for example, diabetes, or a heart, lung or kidney condition

COVID-19, the common cold, seasonal allergies and the flu have many similar signs and symptoms. We will find out about some of the important differences between these illnesses.

The common cold, seasonal allergies and the flu (influenza) cause many similar symptoms. So how can we tell if we have COVID-19? Understand the differences in symptoms that these illnesses cause, as well as how these illnesses spread, are treated and can be prevented.

What is COVID-19 (coronavirus), how does it spread, and how is it treated?

COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease caused by infection with the virus SARS-CoV-2. It usually spreads between people who are in close contact (within 6 feet, or 2 meters). The virus spreads through respiratory droplets released when someone breathes, coughs, sneezes, talks or sings.

These droplets can land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby or be inhaled. The virus can also spread if a person touches a surface or object with the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes, although this isn’t considered to be a main way it spreads.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever, cough and tiredness. But there are many other possible signs and symptoms.

Currently, only one antiviral drug, called remdesivir, is approved to treat COVID-19. Some drugs may help reduce the severity of COVID-19.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the common cold?

Both COVID-19 and the common cold are caused by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2, while the common cold is most often caused by rhinoviruses. These viruses spread in similar ways and cause many of the same signs and symptoms. However, there are a few differences.

While COVID-19 symptoms generally appear two to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2, symptoms of a common cold usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.

There’s no cure for the common cold. Treatment may include pain relievers and over-the-counter cold remedies, such as decongestants. Unlike COVID-19, a cold is usually harmless. Most people recover from a common cold in three to 10 days, although some colds may last as long as two or three weeks.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies?

Unlike COVID-19, seasonal allergies aren’t caused by a virus. Seasonal allergies are immune system responses triggered by exposure to allergens, such as seasonal tree or grass pollens.

COVID-19 and seasonal allergies cause many of the same signs and symptoms. However, there are some differences.

Also, while COVID-19 can cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, seasonal allergies don’t usually cause these symptoms unless you have a respiratory condition such as asthma that can be triggered by pollen exposure.

Treatment of seasonal allergies may include over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays and decongestants, and avoidance of exposure to allergens where possible. Seasonal allergies may last several weeks.

What’s the difference between COVID-19 and the flu

COVID-19 and the flu are both contagious respiratory diseases caused by viruses. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while the flu is caused by influenza A and B viruses. These viruses spread in similar ways.

COVID-19 and the flu cause similar symptoms. The diseases can also cause no symptoms or mild or severe symptoms. Because of the similarities, it can be hard to diagnose which condition you have based on symptoms alone. Testing may be done to see if you have COVID-19 or the flu. You can also have both diseases at the same time. However, there are some differences.

COVID-19 symptoms generally appear two to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Flu symptoms usually appear about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus.

COVID-19 can cause more-serious illnesses in some people than the flu. Also, COVID-19 can cause different complications than the flu, such as blood clots and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

How can you avoid getting COVID-19, a cold and the flu?

When possible, get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you’re fully vaccinated, you can return to doing activities you might not have been able to do because of the pandemic, including not wearing a mask or social distancing in any setting — except where required by a rule or law.

If you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine, you can reduce your risk of infection from the viruses that cause COVID-19, colds and the flu by following several standard precautions. Research suggests that following these measures, such as social distancing and wearing a face mask, might have helped shorten the length of the flu season and lessened the number of people affected in the 2019-2020 flu season.

Standard precautions to reduce your risk of COVID-19, colds and the flu include:

o          Avoiding close contact (within 6 feet, or 2 meters) with anyone outside your household, especially if you have a higher risk of serious illness

o          Wearing a face mask in indoor public spaces and outdoors where there is a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as at a crowded event or large gathering

o          Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

o          Avoiding crowded indoor spaces

o          Covering your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Check if you have a cold

Cold symptoms come on gradually and can include:

o          a blocked or runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, muscle aches, coughs, sneezing, a raised temperature, pressure in your ears and face, loss of taste and smell

The symptoms are the same in adults and children. Sometimes symptoms last longer in children.

How you can treat a cold yourself

To help you get better more quickly:

o          rest and sleep, keep warm, drink plenty of water (fruit juice or squash mixed with water is OK) to avoid dehydration

o          gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat (not suitable for children)

Recovering after COVID-19

It’s common to have health symptoms or side effects after having COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Some people have physical problems such as extreme tiredness (fatigue) or muscle pain. Others can experience mood changes or nightmares. Some people have no symptoms or side effects at all.

Symptoms or side effects can depend on how mild or severe your illness from COVID-19 was. It can also depend on if you were in hospital or not.

Getting back to normal after COVID-19 can take some people a few months. But things usually improve over time.

For further information email to DR HASSAN AZADEH:  [email protected], send only text to 002207774469, 3063333

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