Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Influenza and COVID19 have a number of overlapping symptoms which could make it difficult to tell them apart.
According to the CDC, both the Flu and COVID can have the following symptoms:
Muscle pain or body aches
While the above symptoms often occur in both the flu and in COVID, symptoms that can set the two apart include a change or loss in taste or smell. A change/loss of taste or smell is not common with the flu but may occur in COVID patients.
There are other differences/similarities as well. With influenza, symptoms tend to develop 1-4 days after infection whereas COVID symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after infection.
Both COVID and the Flu are spread the same way- through upper respiratory droplets made when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks as well as person-person contact.
In addition, both the Flu and COVID can have severe complications. It should be noted, however, that COVID can lead to MISC- Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Kids and blood clots in blood vessels and organs. These complications appear to be unique to COVID.
I hope this is helpful! Dr. Jen