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Cold, Flu, or COVID-19?

  • Category: COVID-19
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Cold, Flu, or COVID-19?

“Could I have COVID-19?” is one of the first questions you might ask yourself when you start feeling under the weather. In previous years, you may have chalked up your symptoms to the common cold or flu, this year’s pandemic adds a new element of concern to getting sick.

There is a significant overlap between the symptoms of influenza and COVID-19. Both can present themselves with fever, chills, aches and pains, cough, fatigue, and headache. Here is information to help you better understand the signs, symptoms, and treatments of three winter ailments.

Some Unique Characteristics of COVID-19, Cold, and Influenza

Cold symptoms are mild and tend to not include fever or headache. Congestion/runny nose is common for a cold but would be very uncommon as the only symptom of influenza. Congestion/runny nose can be a symptom of a COVID-19 infection and might be the only symptom in mild cases.

Flu symptoms tend to present themselves rapidly, whereas COVID-19 symptoms can either be of gradual or rapid onset. Unlike colds or coronavirus, vaccination is a good way to prevent the flu. You can still get the flu after having a flu shot, but symptoms tend to be milder.

Two unique symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • The loss of taste or smell, and
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Symptom Checker Chart

Symptom Checker

Should I get a COVID-19 test?

If you have fever/chills, a new cough, or new shortness of breath, you should stay home and arrange to be tested for COVID-19. You should also schedule a COVID-19 test if you have two or more of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • New muscle aches
  • New upper respiratory symptoms (congestions, runny nose, sore throat)
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • New rash or lesions
  • Or, if you have had known close contact with someone with COVID-19 and have one or more of these symptoms.

Important: If you begin experiencing chest pain or pressure, confusion, difficulty breathing, or blue discoloration to your lips or face, go to the emergency room for prompt care.

COVID-19 tests are available at Ogden Clinic’s nine Urgent Care locations for patients exhibiting symptoms. Due to an influx in recent cases, we are not currently testing asymptomatic patients.

Click here to schedule a COVID-19 test at one of our clinics.

See Ogden Clinic’s current protocols and COVID-19 resources at