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Cold, Flu or COVID-19 Virus?

Cold, Flu, Allergies, or Covid - infographic

This information has been reviewed and approved by Patrick Stendel, MPH, Infection Preventionist (January 2024).

Cold, Flu or COVID-19 virus?

Symptoms beginGraduallyAbruptlyWithin 14 days of exposure
Symptoms last4 - 10 days5 - 7 daysVaries by person
Body achesSometimes
ChillsLess commonSometimes
Dry cough
Exposure to germs
FeverLess common
HeadachesLess commonSometimes
Itchy eyes
Nasal congestionSometimes
New loss of taste or smellSometimesSometimes
Repeated shaking with chillsSometimesSometimesSometimes
Runny noseSometimes
Sore throatSometimes
Shortness of breathLess common
Symptoms get worse


Think You Have COVID-19?

  • Stay home and away from others.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • Rest.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often.
  • Treat symptoms.

Contact your doctor if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or existing chronic disease.

COVID-19 symptoms can be slightly different with the Delta variant.