Flu and COVID-19

What is the difference between influenza and COVID-19?
Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2), and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing is needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

Differences:
Flu: Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms. It is thought that influenza infection without symptoms is uncommon.

COVID-19: Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell. COVID-19 can also cause mild to severe illness, as well as infection without symptoms.

Will there be flu along with COVID-19 in the fall and winter?
While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, the CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading, so getting a flu vaccine this flu season is more important than ever. The CDC recommends that all people 6 months and over get a yearly flu vaccine.

Can I have flu and COVID-19 at the same time?
Yes. It is possible have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time. Health experts are still studying how common this can be.

Some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, making it hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. Diagnostic testing can help determine if you are sick with flu or COVID-19.

Is COVID-19 more dangerous than flu?
Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, at this time, it does seem as if COVID-19 is more deadly than seasonal influenza; however, it is too early to draw any conclusions from the current data. This may change as we learn more about the number of people who are infected who have mild illnesses.

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu, but also to help conserve healthcare resources in the care of patients with COVID-19.

Does a flu vaccination increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
There is no evidence that getting a flu vaccination increases your risk of getting sick from a coronavirus, like the one that causes COVID-19.