Corona versus flu: the difference is in the detailsThe number of SARS-CoV-2 infected people is increasing worldwide. Infection with the virus can be fatal – so can infection with flu viruses. But how do flu and corona differ in terms of symptoms, course and therapy? influenza) on. So it is similarly contagious. Dangerous for the same risk groups. So it is similarly contagious. Dangerous for the same risk groups. And yet there is currently decisive differenceSince SARS-CoV-2 is still relatively new, most people do not yet have an immunological memory of this pathogen, and the disease is sometimes much more severe than seasonal flu.
A real comparison with influenza can only be made with the outbreaks in 1957 ("Asian flu") and 1968 ("Hong Kong flu"). Here was also only one low background immunity present in the population. Seasonal flu infects many people every year, but the mortality rate is relatively low at a few tenths of a percent.
In case of infection with SARS-CoV-2 on the other hand, the mortality rate in Germany is around 2.1 percent.
Corona virus affects not only the lower respiratory tract
Initially, COVID-19 was considered a pure lung disease, primarily affecting the lower respiratory tract. Example the nervous system. The blood clotting. In addition, an infection with SARS-CoV-2 can also lead to long-term health consequences ("Long COVID)". Typical symptoms are fatigue, exhaustion, breathing difficulties or depressive moods. But also newly appearing diabetes type 2 or other metabolic diseases can be a consequence of a corona disease.
Increased risk of infection with Corona
Both influenza viruses and corona viruses are transmitted transmitted by droplets, which infected individuals emit when speaking, coughing or breathing.
In the transmission of the two viruses also play Aerosols (finest suspended droplets) play a role. Because aerosols can accumulate in the air, there is an increased risk of transmission in enclosed spaces if people stay there for long periods and there is no ventilation.
Lack of basic immunity in the population
The danger of COVID-19 lies in the fact that the disease has newly emerged and the virus has new, previously unknown surface features. There is a lack of basic immunity against this virus in the population – and that is one of the crucial differences to the influenza virus, the causative agent of the real flu.
Without the basic immunity in the population it is for the pathogen easier to spread. However, virologists and physicians ame that a certain basic immunity is currently developing as a result of the fourth wave: it is amed that by next spring most people in Germany will have developed an immunological memory for the pathogen either through vaccination or infection.
Incubation time of the viruses in comparison
The incubation period is the time between transmission and the first symptoms of disease, and in the case of Corona virus on average six days, 95 percent of all sufferers have developed symptoms no later than 12 days after infection.
For comparison: In influenza, the Incubation period at one to two days. Thus, people can transmit the pathogen of COVID-19 already by droplet infection or by aerosols without knowing that they are infected. This is a decisive difference to influenza, the symptoms of which appear much more quickly after infection.
Similar symptoms in flu and corona
Laymen and even doctors cannot always distinguish the symptoms of flu from COVID-19. When corona is suspected, a rapid antigen test should therefore always be performed. If this is positive, a PCR test must follow. However, a negative rapid test does not mean that one cannot still be infected, because the sensitivity of the tests is not complete. If symptoms persist, a PCR test should be performed.
To the Main symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, cold, sore throat, headache, aching limbs, and loss of sense of smell and taste. Breathing problems and even pneumonia can occur.
To the main symptoms of the seasonal flu Sudden onset of fever, often high, is typical, as is a sudden, very strong feeling of illness with headache, muscle and joint pain. If the lungs are also affected, patients will also have a dry cough and shortness of breath. Similar to COVID-19, the course of influenza can be very variable.
The most obvious difference between COVID-19 and influenza is the Smell and taste disorder which has not been observed so far in influenza. The treatment of COVID-19 is. Similar in influenza. Since there are only limited drugs that are effective against the flu virus, mainly the symptoms are combated and bodily functions are supported. This is how artificial respiration is used in severe cases.
Corona risk groups and factors
The risk group is at similar to both diseases. COVID-19 is especially dangerous for the elderly and for people with pre-existing conditions and immunodeficiency. In principle, a higher risk of a severe course is also observed in men than in women. How to protect yourself from Corona. Protect against flu?Both diseases spread through the same routes of infection, so the protective measures are the same:
– Keep your distance (at least 1.5 meters) – Reduce contacts – Frequent and thorough hand washing – Avoid crowds and large events – Do not shake hands, hugs, etc. Do without – Ventilate thoroughly on a regular basis (shock ventilate shared indoor spaces every 20 minutes) – Meet with friends rather in the fresh air
At a glance : Distinguishing features of corona and influenza
The virus diseases differ in three points Of each:
CourseThe first important distinction is the rate at which the disease develops. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, making people feel very sick and develop a high fever within a few hours. Corona virus infection tends to worsen slowly over days. disturbance of sense of taste and smellMany COVID-19 patients report that they can no longer taste or smell anything. Although similar symptoms can also occur during a severe cold, then they are more gradual. Rhinitis: In case of infection with the flu virus, colds occur much more frequently than COVID-19. But: Only a test can provide certainty.
Conclusion: Corona is not more harmless than influenza
The delta variant currently prevalent in Germany is more contagious than the original type of the Corona virus. The extremely high incidence of infection also results in a high number of deaths with a mortality rate of about 2 percent. SARS-CoV2- Corona is thus at least not less dangerous than the flu. However, compared with influenza, basic population immunity is lacking. In some cases the disease seems to to last longer and also to be able to lead to health long-term consequences.
Based on current data, it appears that COVID-19 is more dangerous than influenza, but this cannot be conclusively said until the pandemic is over.
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This article reflects the current state of knowledge of the last updated date. It is regularly monitored according to the latest scientific. Medical knowledge updated.