It is important to be aware of winter illnesses- some of which present symptoms like coronavirus. Here are some of the usual culprits, according to Harvard Medical School:
- The common cold or viral rhinitis can be caused by more than 200 viruses. Symptoms come on gradually and can include a sore throat, nose and sinus congestion, thick and sometimes discolored discharge, a runny nose, sneezing, a cough, or hoarseness.
- Sinusitis is an infection that can be caused by cold viruses or bacteria. The sinus lining swells, blocking mucus from draining. Symptoms include pressure, pain (in the cheeks, over the eyes), nasal congestion, thick yellow or green discharge, a diminished sense of smell, fever, headache, and fatigue.
- Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, the hollow air passages that connect the windpipe to the lungs. Viruses cause most cases of acute (short-term) bronchitis, although bacteria also can cause the condition. Symptoms include tightness in the chest and a cough that produces phlegm.
- Pneumonia is inflammation deep in the lungs, affecting the small air sacs and nearby tissue. Both viruses and bacteria can cause the condition. Symptoms include fever, chills, a cough producing phlegm, labored breathing, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.
- Influenza (commonly called the flu) is a very contagious and potentially deadly viral illness. Symptoms come on quickly and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea for a few days. You can get sick by an infected person or by eating, drinking or touching something with the virus on it.
Prevention is key to avoid winter illnesses. Get a flu shot, make sure you’ve had the pneumococcal vaccine if you’re 65 or older, and wash your hands before eating or touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid shared foods and drinks. For all winter bugs, try to rest and get lots of fluids so you can get better soon. Take symptoms seriously and report them to your doctor for accurate diagnosis.
According to the CDC, coronavirus symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny