Cold, flu, or COVID-19: Know the symptoms

Oct 05, 2021

COVID-19, the common cold, and the flu (influenza) cause many similar symptoms. So how can you tell which illness you have? Understand the differences in symptoms that these illnesses cause with this chart:

Signs and SymptomsCold Flu COVID-19
Symptom onset GradualSudden2-14 days
Muscle and body achesSlight Common Sometimes
CoughSometimes CommonCommon
DiarrheaRare Sometimes Sometimes
Fatigue, weaknessSometimes CommonCommon
Fever over 100 degreesRare CommonCommon
Loss of taste or smellNever Never Sometimes
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathingRare CommonCommon
Runny or stuffy nose CommonCommonRare
Sneezing CommonSometimes Rare
Sore Throat CommonCommonCommon
Headache Rare CommonSometimes

Learn more about COVID-19 at Visit for information on flu symptoms and care and to find a flu shot location near you.

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