Is it the flu, flu, RSV or COVID-19? Read on to learn how viruses differ. (Photo by Getty Images)

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified medical professional before engaging in any exercise, or making any changes to your diet, medication, or lifestyle.

A sore throat or stuffy nose is common in fall and winter.

Before covid-19, many recognized those symptoms for the flu and rest would make them return to high levels in no time.

However, with the spread of respiratory syncytial virus, also known as RSV, in Canada, along with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to know which one you have.

This year, your “triple” flu symptoms could mean you have Covid-19, influenza, or RSV, which make you sicker than the regular flu virus. Additionally, these conditions are highly contagious, so it’s important to do everything you can to avoid passing your disease on to others.

So, what’s the difference between the flu, the flu, RSV and covid-19? Read on to learn how your symptoms can give you important clues.

Common cold

Earlier this week New York Times Released a Chart By listing the differences between the symptoms and diseases that are spreading widely this year.

The flu is probably the least common virus you can catch, with a cough, runny or runny nose, sneezing and sore throat being the most common symptoms.

Headache, fatigue, and body aches are sometimes associated with the flu, while difficulty breathing, loss of taste and smell, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea are rare symptoms.


A cold is characterized by cough, fatigue, fever, headache, muscle aches and body aches.

Sometimes patients with the flu may have a sore throat, runny or runny nose, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Shortness of breath, shortness of breath, and loss of taste and smell are rare.

A woman in bed coughs with her computer in her hand

The flu is probably the worst virus you can get. (Photo by Getty Images)


The RSV virus is currently taking the world by storm and hospitals in North America are overloaded with RSV patients.

According to the National Collaborating Center for Infectious Diseases, RSV is a virus that attacks the respiratory system (ie, the lungs and airways).

Although RSV can affect people of any age, it is most common in infants and children. In fact, it’s so common that by age two, most infants and children are infected with RSV.

RSV can be life-threatening, especially for children and the elderly who have heart failure, asthma, or other respiratory problems.

Common symptoms include coughing, wheezing, and a runny or stuffy nose.

Sometimes patients may experience headache, fever, shortness of breath and sneezing. Rarely, people with RSV have fatigue, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Young boy sneezing and blowing his nose with a tissue.

Although RSV can affect people of any age, it is most common in infants and children. (Photo by Getty Images)


Despite common misconceptions, COVID-19 is still a serious concern and can spread easily and cause more severe illness in some people than the flu. It can also take longer for symptoms of Covid to appear, meaning you can spread the virus before you know you’re sick.

Patients often experience cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache and sore throat. Sometimes people experience fever, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea. Occasionally, patients wheeze.

What are the most common variants of covid-19?

In the year By the end of 2021, the Omicron variant has moved at a faster pace. Since then, new variants of SARS-CoV-2 – BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 – which are the most common in Canada and the United States, emerged last month.

Omicron was first reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021 after it was discovered in South Africa. It has since spread to many countries.

Omicron has been identified as a concern by the World Health Organization, and the organization says it is coordinating with a number of researchers around the world to better understand the new species.

A woman squeezes the sample fluid with a test strip during an at-home Covid-19 rapid self-test.

Despite common misconceptions, COVID-19 is still a serious concern. (Photo by Getty Images)

How to tell the difference between covid-19, flu, RSV and the common cold

Many Canadians can get sick this cold season, so it’s important to assess your most common symptoms honestly and accurately. However, making that distinction is harder than it seems, as many signs can overlap.

One symptom you may experience with Covid-19 is a loss of smell, not a symptom of a cold, flu or RSV. But many people with the coronavirus don’t lose their sense of smell, and Barrett said it’s not a “useful diagnostic tool.”

Self-diagnosis is not a reliable option when different infections give similar results.

The only way to know for sure when any of these symptoms appear is to get checked out by a medical professional.

What you can do to stay safe.

By now, the public is well aware of ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19, RSV, colds and flu – and experts offer similar advice, especially when it comes to travel.

“I think it’s a little too naive to think that just stopping people from traveling is going to change the size of the economy in this country,” Barrett said. “What we do within our borders and in our own cities and in our daily lives is very important.”

The WHO said it will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available on Covid-19 and other conditions. The tips about what you can do have not changed.

Wearing a good mask (experts have advised Canadians to ditch single-ply masks for medical masks), especially social distancing at home, staying home when sick and washing hands regularly are good practices everyone should follow during the cold season. Flu Season and Pandemics.

Also, get your booster shot and flu shot. Health officials are stressing that the best way to protect Canadians from Covid-19 and the flu is to get vaccinated if they are eligible.

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