COVID vs Common Cold vs Flu - Which one is it? (Doctor Explains)

every fall and winter sneezing sniffling coughing  in the lake is it the common cold is it the flu  

is it covid 19 all of these have overlapping  symptoms so how do you know which one it is  

and covid 19 cases are already starting  to surge again the so-called second wave  

now that we're in the middle of october and  the temperatures are getting colder and colder  

so let's talk about how you can tell the  difference if you can tell the difference between  

these three illnesses and when you should consider  going to seek medical attention all three of these  

covid 19 the flu in the common cold they're all  caused by viruses and the only way that these  

viruses survive is by getting inside the cells  of animals including humans there are over 200  

viruses that can cause the common cold by  far the most common ones being rhinoviruses  

and different types of coronaviruses the exact  virus that causes infection and how your body's  

immune system reacts to that infection is what  determines how severe the illness will be the main  

way that these respiratory viruses spread is when  someone who's sick with one of these illnesses  

coughs or sneezes or talks or sings and then they  propel that virus through respiratory droplets  

and then it gets onto someone else's into their  nostrils or their mouth or they inhale into their  

lungs but it can also be spread when it gets  onto commonly touched surfaces like such as  

door handles and then someone else touches that  and then they get that on their fingers and then  

they touch their their face specifically they're  either their nostrils their mouth or sometimes  

the eyes now when these respiratory viruses are in  these droplets and they're expelled from someone  

they get launched into the air and they  can travel six feet sometimes up to 12 feet  

some of the viruses like sars coronavirus 2  the one that causes covid 19 can actually be  

aerosolized and travel up to 27 feet and that's  not just a made up number they actually did  

studies on this and there's video evidence to  show that this is what happens i made a whole  

video on this called airborne transmission so go  ahead and check that out if you want more details  

with covid19 an infected person doesn't need to  have symptoms to spread the virus of someone else  

about 40 of viral transmission occurs before an  infected person actually shows symptoms if people  

with covid 19 do get symptoms the symptoms  can last for several days or it can last for  

the duration of the illness and then there's of  course the long haulers were last ongoing for  

weeks to months at a time and up to one third  of people with covid 19 never get symptoms with  

the common cold you're contagious the entire time  you have symptoms but you're most contagious right  

when you get the virus before you develop symptoms  so right when you get the virus that's when you're  

most contagious then you get the symptoms and  you remain contagious throughout the entire  

time now with influenza meaning the flu you're  most contagious the day before you get symptoms  

and you remain contagious up until around the  fifth day of illness and for lots of people the  

fifth day is pretty much when the flu is over  but it can go a little bit longer than that  

with any of these illnesses it's important to  stay home to prevent others from getting sick  

whether that's you or your child being sick  stay home now based on symptoms alone can  

you tell the difference between the common cold  the flu and covid 19 and the answer is sometimes  

but the only real way to know for sure is by doing  testing the common cold is most likely to cause  

sneezing a runny or stuffy nose sore throat  and cough these symptoms usually last a week  

and they're typically worse on days two to four  of the illness symptoms don't usually appear until  

day 2 to 3 of the illness and like i said it's  right after you get the virus when you're actually  

most contagious so those first two days you  don't have symptoms and that's when you're most  

contagious in about one-fourth of colds there can  be a persistent cough that lasts for several weeks  

with the flu you typically have the same symptoms  as the cold but in addition you're going to have  

body aches headache fevers chills sweats fatigue  and sometimes nausea and vomiting flu can last  

for a week or maybe a little bit longer but  typically it's about five days sometimes flu  

can be so severe that it causes inflammation in  the lungs so the real wild card here is covid 19  

so one third of the time it doesn't cause  any symptoms and then sometimes it can cause  

mild symptoms similar to the common cold sometimes  it can cause symptoms similar to the flu and one  

of the unique symptoms of covid 19 or relatively  unique is that it can cause loss of taste or smell  

and then like influenza coconitine can cause  a viral pneumonia so inflammation in the lungs  

and sometimes that viral pneumonia is so severe  to the point of causing acute respiratory  

distress syndrome essentially you have lots of  inflammation within the lungs and that can also  

cause this cytokine storm where other organs in  the body can become affected by that and you can  

get multi-organ failure and that's what can lead  to death that's very rare the case fatality rate  

of covid 19 is thought to be around 0.4 percent  again because it's early in the pandemic that  

number is being adjusted so when you compare covid 19 to the flu they both can cause viral pneumonia  

and they both can cause ards but covid 19 is  more likely to do that from the time someone  

gets sars coronavirus 2 to the time that they  develop symptoms it can happen anywhere from day  

two to day 14. but on average it's about five  days another unique aspect of covid 19 is that  

symptoms can be mild and there can be temporary  improvement and then people get worsening  

symptoms after that temporary improvement these  symptoms can eventually resolve or things can get  

worse and then there's the long callers which i  talked a lot about in my last video with covid 19  

we know that there are certain risk factors that  make people more prone to having worse outcomes  

this is older age that's the biggest one being  a male also having obesity or heart disease or  

high blood pressure or diabetes these are all  risk factors for having more severe disease  

in a recent october study published in the  new england journal medicine the researchers  

identified a specific cluster of genes that make  some people more prone to having severe covet  

illness and they also confirmed the potential  involvement of the abo blood group system  

there seems to be a higher risk in type a than  in other blood groups and a protective effect in  

type o if you think you have symptoms that might  be covid 19 or the flu what you can do is call  

your doctor or call your urgent care clinic or  your hospital emergency department and you might  

want to get a test regardless whether you call  it before or after it's especially important to  

make that phone call if you're at higher risk for  having severe disease the most concerning symptom  

is shortness of breath so if you have shortness of  breath that alone is enough reason to seek medical  

attention it's also not a bad idea for some people  to get a pulse oximeter so that they can check  

their oxygen levels generally speaking most people  have oxygen saturation levels of 98 to 99 100  

but some people have underlying lung conditions  or even underlying heart conditions where their  

oxygen levels at baseline are lower such as  pulmonary hypertension such as with copd emphysema  

so these patients have lower oxygen  levels in the 89 to 92 percent range or 94  

so you have to know what your baseline oxygen  level is before you can really interpret  

how low you need to go before you seek medical  treatment but for most people who have a baseline  

oxygen saturation of 98 to 99 100 percent when  their oxygen level drops below 94 percent that's  

when we start to get real concerned that they  could have an acute respiratory illness such as  

covid 19 going on i did talk about this in further  detail in one of my videos where i talk about the  

pulse oximeter and checking your oxygen levels as  it pertains to covid 19 now let's talk about making  

the diagnosis of flu and covid 19 with the flu we  have a rapid antigen test and we get results in 30  

minutes it has a sensitivity of about 70 percent  so if someone truly does have the flu that test  

will pick it up 70 percent of the time not the  greatest not the worst so it's a good test to rule  

out the flu but not rule in the flu so if someone  actually does not have the influenza virus and  

they test negative with that test it's going to  give you an accuracy about 95 in that circumstance  

so again it's good to rule out the flu but not  good to rule in the flu what is a more accurate  

test for the flu that would be the standard flu  test the only problem is that it takes about three  

days to get results back so you have to trade  off the time versus the accuracy in that case  

testing for covid 19 is a whole another  discussion and actually did make a video on  

one of the tests for covid 19 the rapid antigen  test but for this part of this video i'm going  

to give a brief summary of the testing we have  the pcr test which is the gold standard that's  

the best that you can get the problem is it  takes a little while for that test to come back  

you have to do an oral swab and a nasal swab so  that's that then there's the rapid antigen test  

for covid 19 that's the one i made a video on  that has the advantage of getting quick results  

within 15 minutes and it's almost as accurate  as the pcr test then you have the antibody test  

that's the third category of testing for cover  19. this doesn't test if you have active infection  

what it does is it tests if you had recent  infections so if you had a history of covid 19  

in theory it's going to detect if it's accurate  enough it's going to detect that you've had  

recent or previous infection with covid 19. so  really the two main tests are the pcr tests  

and the rapid antigen tests in order to detect  if you have active infection the loss of taste  

the loss of smell is a relatively unique feature  of covid 19 that can help differentiate between  

the common cold and influenza does that mean the  common cold can't cause loss of taste of smell  

of course not but it is a useful symptom that  can help differentiate it but symptoms alone  

not enough to determine if you have covid 19 versus the flu versus the common cold  

you're going to want to get a test and the  rapid engine test which comes back in 15 minutes  

is almost as accurate as the pcr test and one more  thing from this video is that it's so important  

to get the flu vaccination this year more so  than ever because of the covid 19 pandemic  

you have to realize that not just the  covid 19 in itself is bad but that also  

has a downstream effect on treating  other people's medical conditions  

so when you start to add all these things  together they compound and really burden  

our health care system so please flu vaccination  oh what's what's this huh what what what's that


so this is what youtube sent me but really it's  what you sent me because you're the one who  

subscribed and i want to say thank you very much  for subscribing this is what uh they sent me for  

getting 100 000 subscribers and i've been so busy  with work and with my move into my new place and  

just uh been non-stop and making these videos of  course so i did want to take the time to finally  

open this on camera and i want to share this with  you and thank you once again and i think i'm going  

to put it i just i was like right here does  that look good like that i think it looks good

so yeah thank you once again and by the way a lot  of people been asking when i'm going to upload a  

new video on my other youtube channel and that's  going to be coming soon probably tomorrow or the  

day after that so be on the lookout for that  if you want to subscribe to my other channel  

anyway thanks again and stay safe stay healthy  please do the right things from a health  

perspective and pass along the message we know  that masks are important you guys all already  

know all the stuff that you should be doing and  uh it's unfortunate that some people at the top  

go against the scientific expert device but  

you know what it is you watch this  channel and again thank you very much