Covid symptoms: Is it a cold or coronavirus?

More is being learned about the coronavirus and what symptoms to act on.

The NHS says people should look out for the classic symptoms of Covid:

  • a new and ongoing cough
  • fever/high temperature
  • loss or change in smell or taste.

However, researchers say that, for some people, having Covid can seem “more like a cold” with symptoms such as headache, sore throat, and runny nose.

If you think you may have Covid, it’s important to get tested. Even people who don’t feel very sick can put others at risk.

A high temperature is 37.8C or higher. A fever of this type can occur when the body is fighting any infection, not just the coronavirus.

It is best to use a thermometer. But if you don’t have one, check to see if you, or the person you are concerned about, feel warm to the touch in the chest or back.

What about a cough?

If you have a cold or the flu, you’re likely to have a cough, along with other symptoms.

The flu usually comes on suddenly and sufferers often have muscle aches, chills, headaches, tiredness, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose, as well as a cough. The sensation is worse than that of a bad cold.

Colds tend to develop more gradually and are less severe, although they still cause discomfort. Along with coughing, there may be sneezing, sore throat and runny nose. Fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches are rare.

A coronavirus cough means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing spells or “episodes” in 24 hours.

If you usually have a cough due to a long-term illness, such as COPD, it may be worse than usual.

You should be tested for coronavirus if you develop a new and ongoing cough.

What does the loss or change in smell or taste mean?

These are key symptoms of coronavirus and mean you should get tested.

It could be that you have a simple cold. But it needs to be checked, even if you don’t feel sick, to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Loss of smell from coronavirus is different from a cold or flu.

Loss of smell due to coronavirus: the meat tastes like gasoline.

Does sneezing mean I have coronavirus?

Sneezing is not a classic symptom of coronavirus, and unless you also have a fever, cough, or loss of smell and taste, you don’t need a test, according to the NHS.

However, droplets from sneezing can spread infection, so catch them on a tissue, deposit it in the garbage can and then wash your hands.

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus and other illnesses

Wash your hands regularly

Use a face shield when social distancing is not possible.

Try to keep your distance from people who are not from home.

What about snot, nasal congestion, or headache?

Currently, the NHS says that a runny nose or headache is not a reason to get a Covid test.

However, research suggests that some people who test positive for Covid have these symptoms.

U.S. guidelines say that people with the following symptoms may have Covid:

Fever or chills


Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Muscle aches or body aches


Loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Nasal congestion or discharge

Nausea or vomiting


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