Coronavirus: Are you feeling fatigued? It could be COVID-19, a cold or flu

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As dark, cold and sometimes wet winter evenings settle in, have you found yourself feeling lethargic?

Feeling of fatigue can be felt with a COVID-19 infection, a cold or the flu certified the World Health Organisation (WHO).

This can make it tricky to determine which one you have, so how can you tell the difference?

When you begin to feel a bit under the weather, pay attention to all the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Shortness of breath

One defining feature of COVID-19, which requires a call to NHS 111, is shortness of breath, said the WHO.

Considered a medical emergency, this symptom doesn’t occur if you have a cold or flu.


It’s common to be sneezing if you have the common cold, but it won’t happen if you have the flu or coronavirus.

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COVID-19, the cold and flu share similar symptoms when it comes to the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Cough
  • Aches and pain
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Differences

The common cold is more likely to cause a runny or stuffy nose than the flu, and definitely more likely than coronavirus.

Diarrhoea – although rare – has been reported in COVID-19 patients, whereas it can sometimes happen to children who have the flu.

Loose stools do not occur due to a person being infected with the common cold.

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A headache is particularly common when you have the flu, and it may occur when you have COVID-19.

However, it’s rare for a headache to occur when you’re suffering from the common cold.

The official three main symptoms of COVID-19, pointed out by the NHS, are the following:

  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • A high temperature

“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” said the national health body.

Nobody wants to be responsible for helping to spread the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Thus, if you’re feeling under the weather, it’s best to stay at home and order any necessities you need online.

Alternatively, you can telephone a neighbour or friend if any prescriptions or shopping needs to be collected.

If you have at least one of the three main symptoms of coronavirus, you can order a free coronavirus test.

“You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result,” said the NHS.

“Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started,” it added.

Test results are intended to be shared within 48 hours, however bear in mind the results may take longer than this.

If you’re not sure what to do about your symptoms, do call NHS 111.

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