Coronavirus Vs. Cold – A take a look at the symptoms

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As the list of symptoms for coronavirus continues to evolve, many may be wondering if they have COVID-19 or just a cold.

Congestion or a runny nose is now considered a symptom of COVID-19, according to the latest update from the nation’s top health agency. That’s in addition to several other symptoms previously released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, these viruses cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal. Mild illnesses include some cases of the common cold (which is also caused by other viruses, predominantly rhinoviruses), while more lethal varieties can cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea. There are as yet no vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, one of the largest among RNA viruses. They have characteristic club-shaped spikes that project from their surface, which in electron micrographs create an image reminiscent of the solar corona, from which their name derives.

Coronavirus Vs. Cold: A Look at the Symptoms

About Symptoms
A symptom (from Greek σύμπτωμα, “accident, misfortune, that which befalls”, from συμπίπτω, “I befall”, from συν- “together, with” and πίπτω, “I fall”) is a departure from normal function or feeling which is apparent to a patient, reflecting the presence of an unusual state, or of a disease. A symptom can be subjective or objective. Tiredness is a subjective symptom whereas cough or fever are objective symptoms. In contrast to a symptom, a sign is a clue to a disease elicited by an examiner or a doctor. For example, paresthesia is a symptom (only the person experiencing it can directly observe their own tingling feeling), whereas erythema is a sign (anyone can confirm that the skin is redder than usual). Symptoms and signs are often nonspecific, but often combinations of them are at least suggestive of certain diagnoses, helping to narrow down what may be wrong. In other cases they are specific even to the point of being pathognomonic.
The term is sometimes also applied to physiological states outside the context of disease, as for example when referring to “symptoms of pregnancy”. Many people use the term sign and symptom interchangeably.

But how does coronavirus differ from the cold?

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Coronavirus Vs. Cold: A Look at the Symptoms

Here’s a breakdown of the symptoms for each.

Coronavirus

Though the CDC says its list does not include all possible symptoms and will continue to be updated as more information related to coronavirus is discovered, the full list of key symptoms currently includes:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The World Health Organization also breaks down its list of symptoms by severity, including other potential symptoms like conjunctivitis, rash or discoloration of fingers and toes, and loss of speech or movement.

Most common symptoms:

  • fever.
  • dry cough.
  • tiredness.

Less common symptoms:

  • aches and pains.
  • sore throat.
  • diarrhoea.
  • conjunctivitis.
  • headache.
  • loss of taste or smell.
  • a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes.

Serious symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
  • chest pain or pressure.
  • loss of speech or movement.

Skin doctors have also been looking at feet amid concern over a condition dubbed “COVID toes.” The condition brings red, sore and sometimes itchy swellings on toes that look like chilblains, something doctors normally see on the feet and hands of people who’ve spent a long time outdoors in the cold.

According to the CDC, anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

Coronavirus cases are spiking across the U.S. and the largest increase is among people aged 20 to 44. Natasha Bhuyan, a medical provider and regional director for One Medical, explains how social gatherings are leading to an increase in Covid-19 cases.

Cold

According to the CDC, symptoms of a cold usually peak within two to three days and can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Mucus dripping down your throat (post-nasal drip)
  • Watery eyes
  • Fever (although most people with colds do not have fever)

“When viruses that cause colds first infect the nose and air-filled pockets in the face (sinuses), the nose makes clear mucus. This helps wash the viruses from the nose and sinuses. After two or three days, mucus may change to a white, yellow, or green color. This is normal and does not mean you need an antibiotic,” the CDC reports. “Some symptoms, particularly runny nose, stuffy nose, and cough, can last for up to 10 to 14 days, but those symptoms should be improving during that time.”

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