Coronavirus: Vaccine Tracker

Coronavirus vs. Flu: Health expert breaks down similarities, differences


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – While there are still many unknowns about the coronavirus, experts say they’re learning more each day and education is the best way to prepare people.

The Chief Medical Officer at Grand Rounds, an online healthcare resource center, breaks down the similarities and differences between the coronavirus and flu.

Many may be feeling anxious, scared, worried and probably all of the emotions you could possibly feel right now about the coronavirus.

Watching the panic as supplies flew off the shelves the last few days probably didn’t help either.

The main takeaways from conversations with experts are that people don’t need to be rushing to the stores all at once.

The coronavirus will continue to spread and people will get sick but like the flu, many people will also recover. 

They say we will learn more information each day which will eventually lead to a treatment and quick response.

Where the coronavirus spreads across the country, often fear and panic follow, mostly because of the unknown.

Experts say it helps to relate the information to what we do know which is that it has similarities to the flu.

“These are both illnesses that are different than bacteria, so things like antibiotics don’t treat either the flu or coronavirus. Another similarity is the actual symptoms of the illness so people will have things like cough, and fevers and some shortness of breath and those are similar with flu and coronavirus,” Dr. Parekh said. 

While both viruses can be spread through the person-to-person contact, Doctor Ami Parekh, the chief medical officer at Grand Rounds, says the flu and coronavirus may differ in timing of the symptoms and treatment.

“The flu for those of who’ve had it, it comes on all of a sudden. You’re feeling just fine and all of a sudden you have the flu with coronavirus it does seem like the symptoms take a few days to develop,” Dr. Parekh said. 

She says coronavirus symptoms take longer to show up and longer to go away.

Another big difference is that there are antiviral vaccines and medicine for the flu but not yet for the coronavirus.

“Even with that people do die of the flu every year. As of right now, more Americans have died of the flu than the coronavirus. The issue with the coronavirus is I think with current data we do think it’s more fatal the flu however we have very little data,” Dr. Parekh said. 

This is also why experts don’t know how long the coronavirus will last, unlike the flu which is seasonal.

Despite their differences, both viruses can be prevented by practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

“Whenever its virus season, you should be washing your hands way more regularly than you otherwise would have, so 20 seconds soap and water as much as possible. Second, don’t touch your face so much. The more you’re touching things, you’re exposing yourself to more things. That’s one of the reasons people say the masks don’t work,” Dr. Parekh said. 

Also, disinfect common areas.

the main prevention techniques remain the same for the coronavirus and most of the other deadly viruses we’ve encountered in the U.S.

If you happen to get sick with the coronavirus, Dr. Parekh says you should still do all of the other things you would if you got the flu, which means taking fever reducers, staying hydrated, and staying home if you are sick.

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