a “nuanced” similarity of symptoms

the approach of winter, the usual batch of viruses and other little ailments not always identified are back. But this year, ordinary viruses will be added to Covid-19, which will make things more complex. Where a sore throat, a little fever and a runny nose are usually not cause for concern and do not prevent people from continuing to live normally, we will now have to be vigilant and tirelessly ask ourselves the same question: is it a cold, the flu or the Coronavirus?

“The first symptoms of a Covid-19 infection can be very similar to those of a cold. The common cold and the Covid-19 generally start with the same symptoms: you feel feverish, tired, you have a runny nose, your throat has a sore throat, you sneeze and you can cough ”, describes Dr. Ilham Adouane, doctor infectious disease specialist.

These symptoms can appear as well in the event of contamination with Coronavirus, as for the common cold or the flu. Some of these signs occur more or less frequently depending on the disease. The absence of fever rather leans the diagnosis towards a cold. But this clue is far from certain. “You can have covid-19 without having a fever,” warns Dr. Adouane. Conversely, it is possible to have a fever in case of a cold. “In this case, it generally lasts a short time, less than 24 hours”, specifies the specialist.

Something to take into account: the intensity of the symptoms
Rhinoviruses (colds, flu, rhinitis) circulate throughout the year, which is why you can sometimes catch a cold in the middle of summer. Most of the time, they induce a simple cold, which sets in slowly and can result in congestion and runny nose, sneezing, headache, sore throat and mild fatigue for three to five days. “However, it happens that patients present a high fever which suggests a flu-like syndrome, or even an onset of Covid-19”, indicates Dr. Adouane. “Likewise, some people go through influenza or Covid-19 with few or no symptoms at all,” she explains.

According to Dr. Adouane, the main factor that differentiates the common cold and the flu from Covid 19 clinically is the intensity of the symptoms. “Most patients with rhinovirus infection are able to work, go about their daily tasks. This is less often the case when a patient suffers from the flu or Covid-19 ”.

One thing to do: take a test
The only way to obtain a reliable diagnosis is to perform a test: “The only way to rule out the Covid-19 trail is to be tested,” recalls Dr. Adouane. More and more people are going to be tested. This is the reason why “it is important to have a sufficient quantity of tests available in the coming months”, wishes to specify the infectiologist.

The recommended influenza vaccine
The influenza vaccine will help avoid an overlap between Covid-19 and seasonal influenza, since the Coronavirus will continue to circulate in the fall and also in the winter. This year, this vaccine is particularly recommended. “It’s not foolproof protection – at best it works at 60%, which means if you are vaccinated and come across the flu virus, you have a 6 in 10 chance of not developing the infection. But that makes it possible to put more chances on his side, explains the infectious disease specialist. This will save you not only hard days, but also worry and wait for the test result. Even with the flu, isolating yourself while your symptoms subside will be helpful so you don’t participate in the spread of such a dangerous disease.

In addition, the French laboratory Sanofi announced at the beginning of September that it will put on the Moroccan market, a quadrivalent influenza vaccine for pregnant women, children from 6 months to 5 years old, the elderly and people suffering from chronic diseases (cardiovascular , diabetes, high blood pressure). According to the pharmaceutical company, this vaccine will allow the “reduction of cases of influenza, deaths and hospitalizations”. It will be put on sale at a price of 125.30 dirhams.


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