Q. How to differentiate COVID-19 from other influenza-like illness?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Zubayer Alam
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sneha Kannan
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 03, 2020 and last reviewed on: Feb 18, 2021

Hi doctor,

I have sneezing with nasal discharge. How to manage influenza-like illness?



Welcome to

I understand your concern. According to the statement, you are suffering from sneezing, nasal drooling, or mouth breathing. You need to know about the treatment protocol for influenza-like illness (ILI). The signs and symptoms are fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, body pain, tiredness, headache, and vomiting, or diarrhea. The treatment is symptomatic. Rapid detection and isolation of affected people can help to prevent the spreading of influenza-like illness in the community. For fever and body ache, you can take Acetaminophen. In case of cough, nasal drooling, and runny nose, you can take antihistamines, Montelukast, and nasal decongestants. Steam inhalation can be helpful. Oxygen saturation gets affected and it is detected by a pulse oximeter. Affected patients with oxygen saturation below ninety-three percent should get hospitalized for oxygen inhalation therapy and close monitoring is needed.

Thank you doctor,

How to differentiate COVID-19 and influenza?



Welcome back to

It is difficult to differentiate influenza from COVID-19 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). In the case of COVID-19 infection, fever with a dry cough is developed initially. After a few days, it turns into an intractable cough and respiratory distress, and then it develops into COVID-19 pneumonia. In these cases, HRCT (high resolution computed tomography) of the chest helps to confirm the diagnosis.

Sudden loss of smell or anosmia helps to predict COVID-19 infection. There is a sudden loss of taste sensation also. COVID-19 can also develop with influenza as both are caused due to viral infections. Again sudden fall in oxygen saturation helps to predict COVID-19 infection. Antibody test or antigen test or RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test helps to detect COVID-19 infections.

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