Fast Five Quiz: Flu Season

Michael Stuart Bronze, MD

Disclosures

October 02, 2020

According to the CDC, other key differences between COVID-19 and influenza include the following:

  • Persons with influenza typically develop symptoms more quickly after infection than those with COVID-19. Influenza symptoms usually develop 1-4 days after infection. COVID-19 symptoms typically develop 5 days after infection, although it can be as early as 2 days or as late as 14 days after infection.

  • For both influenza and COVID-19, spreading infection is possible for at least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms. Those with COVID-19 may be contagious for a longer period than if they had influenza. Older children and adults with influenza appear to be most contagious during the first 3-4 days of their illness, and many remain contagious for about 7 days. The exact length of time someone with COVID-19 can spread infection is still under investigation.

  • Overall, the risk for complications in healthy children is higher for influenza than for COVID-19. However, infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both influenza and COVID-19.

  • Both COVID-19 and influenza are predominantly spread person-to-person, between those who are in close contact. Both infections are spread mainly by droplets made when people cough, sneeze, or talk. However, it is possible for individuals to get infected from either virus by physical human contact or by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Read more on the spread of influenza.

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