(wagon radio) – Feeling a little sick after the holidays? You may have one (or two, or three) of the overlapping symptoms of RSV, influenza, COVID-19, and strep.
We asked Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Sindhu Adderson to break down some of the most common symptoms and treatments for each virus and bacteria, and explain the differences.
With strep, the most common symptoms are a sore throat and fever, Adderson said, but coughing is less common.
When you get the flu, you often experience body aches. One of the hallmark symptoms Adderson is seeing with COVID-19 is fatigue and, in some cases, loss of taste or smell.
In the case of RSV, the main symptoms are often wheezing and coughing. However, cough has been reported with all three viral illnesses (COVID-19, RSV, and influenza). Adderson said streptococcal disease, which is caused by bacteria, is less common.
Difficulty breathing is most common with coronavirus and RSV, but can also occur in people with influenza, especially those with weakened immune systems and the elderly.
There may be a general fever.
To easily compare the symptoms of the four diseases, we have created a table that you can use here.
Listen to more of Dr. Adderson’s interview using the audio player below.
People who want a definitive diagnosis can use an at-home coronavirus test or get tested for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and streptococcus at a doctor’s office.
“All of these diseases and viruses tend to have a lot of common symptoms,” Adderson says. “It’s hard to really narrow it down without testing.”
It is important to understand your symptoms because a correct diagnosis will help your doctor determine the correct treatment. There are antiviral drugs available for both influenza and coronavirus, and if taken early, they can prevent symptoms from getting worse.
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