Happy Memorial Day Weekend

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on Memorial Day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
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Young woman feeling symptoms of an illness

Flu Symptoms vs COVID-19: How to Spot the Difference

The rise and spread of the delta variant have made this summer challenging for us all. Health experts are bracing for the worst as we approach the cold winter months. Delta variant symptoms can align with flu symptoms. Learning how to recognize the differences between these illnesses will go a long way toward managing the pandemic.

Flu Symptoms vs Covid: What Should You Be Looking For?

The two contagious illnesses are alike in many ways. They both spread through respiratory droplets released when coughing, sneezing, or even breathing. Most flu symptoms 2021 are also covid symptoms, but there are a few key differences to watch for.

Flu and Covid Symptoms

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Runny or stuffed nose
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Severe illness and complications

Not everyone who contracts COVID-19 or the flu will develop severe illness or complications. Pregnancy, older age, and certain underlying medical issues can all increase the risk. Getting vaccinated can reduce the risk of severe covid symptoms. Although breakthrough cases are occurring with the delta variant, it’s mainly the unvaccinated who are suffering from severe illness.

Your flu symptoms 2021 may not present exactly as listed here. Whether we’re looking at flu symptoms vs covid, everyone is different. It’s hard to say why some experience things others do not. Nonetheless, you will likely have some of these symptoms, particularly the fever. If you have any of these covid or flu symptoms without a fever, you may be dealing with a cold, allergies, or some other illness. When in doubt, getting a covid test is your best option.

Specific Delta Variant Symptoms and Key Information


Although loss of smell or taste can also happen with the flu, it’s one of the most notable of the delta variant symptoms. If you’re feeling unwell and notice that your sense of taste seems off, get tested immediately. Another sign that you’re dealing with symptoms of covid rather than flu symptoms 2021 is a dry, unproductive cough.


Symptoms of covid tend to be worse for some people than flu symptoms. COVID-19 also presents a greater risk of severe illness and complications like pneumonia. The current data shows 15 percent of COVID-19 cases present severe symptoms. Up to 5 percent are critical, requiring ventilation. These percentages are higher than what medical professionals see with influenza.


Another key difference between the two illnesses relates to how quickly symptoms appear. When you contract the flu, you’ll most likely begin feeling sick within a couple of days. COVID-19 symptoms can take five days or longer to develop. Some people don’t show symptoms for up to two weeks after contracting the virus. This leads to a dangerous phase where people can spread the virus without realizing they have it. Current data suggests the virus can spread for approximately 48 hours before symptoms begin.

Experts are still working to determine how long it’s possible to spread the coronavirus after the point of infection. As of now, there’s some evidence that an infected individual can remain contagious for up to 10 days after the onset of symptoms. Spread is possible for up to 20 days if the illness is severe.

It’s also possible to spread the virus while asymptomatic, especially if in close contact with others.

The COVID-19 Testing You Need at MD Now

In North America, flu season usually begins in October and continues through May. If the delta variant spreads further, we’ll likely see a spike in COVID-19 cases during that same period.

MD Now offers COVID-19 PCR tests at each of our more than 110 urgent care clinics across the state of Florida. We also test for influenza. Getting tested is the only way to tell whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are flu symptoms vs covid. Research shows that the PCR tests we offer at MD Now are the best at detecting an active infection.

You can count on MD Now to provide everything needed to help you get through the pandemic.

Just walk in! No appointment is necessary.


Happy Memorial Day Weekend

All MD Now urgent care locations are open
on Memorial Day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Find a Clinic