Cold vs Flu vs COVID 19 | NorthWest Cardio Diagnostics

Cold Vs Flu Vs Covid 19

The Coronavirus Molecule

Respiratory Illnesses – Differentials leading to Diagnosis


The flu and COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus that’s led to the current pandemic, are both infectious respiratory illnesses. Although the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can look similar, the two illnesses are caused by different viruses. Let’s throw in the common cold and compare.

How do we differentiate the symptoms?


Common Cold (Rhinovirus)

  • Symptoms build over 48 Hours
  • Runny nose, watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose and congestion
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Symptoms may last 3-10 days

Molecular Structure

  Cold Virus Molecule


  • Fast onset symptoms (especially fever and chills)
  • Fever and chills
  • Body aches and pains
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Symptoms may last hours to days and may linger for weeks
  • Gastrointestinal flu will present with diarrhoea and vomiting

Molecular Structure

Flu Virus Molecule Image

Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2)

  • Fever
  • Dry Cough
  • Tiredness

Less Common Symptoms

  • Sore Throat
  • Body aches and pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Rash on skin or discolouration on toes

Serious Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Loss of speech or movement

Molecule Structure

Coronovirus Molecule
Image of the coronavirus molecule