The symptoms of COVID-19, including fever and cough, are frustratingly similar to a host of other common diseases, including the seasonal flu.
With flu season around the corner, how can you tell if a fever is the flu or COVID-19? A new study has shed light on how COVID-19 symptoms present, which may help people trying to figure out if their cough is just a cough or something worse.
The research from the University of Southern California (USC) was able to determine that COVID-19 symptoms often start in a certain order.
This discovery might help people with COVID-19 self-isolate and get treatment sooner, which could significantly improve patient outcomes.
“This order is especially important to know when we have overlapping cycles of illnesses like the flu that coincide with infections of COVID-19,” said Peter Kuhn, PhD, one of the study authors and professor of medicine, biomedical engineering, and aerospace and mechanical engineering at USC. “Doctors can determine what steps to take to care for the patient, and they may prevent the patient’s condition from worsening.”
COVID-19 symptoms timeline
According to study findings, this is the order of symptoms that patients can experience:
- cough and muscle pain
- nausea or vomiting
The study found that patients with seasonal flu more commonly developed a cough before the onset of fever. In reality, this may be difficult to discern since the flu often begins abruptly with a triad of symptoms, including back pain, chills, along with a dry cough.