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A senior couple reads the newspaper together.
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At The Garden Plaza Of Florissant

Do I Have the Flu or COVID-19?

A senior man lays in bed while a woman checks his forehead for a fever.

Do I Have the Flu or COVID-19?

January 7th, 2021

Keeping our loved ones healthy is a point of pride for many of us. We keep them well fed, help them stay active and assist them with hygiene practices as they need it. But no matter how much effort we put in, our loved ones will eventually deal with an illness — and the fall and winter seasons is where we see colds and the flu most often. Now, we also have the COVID-19 virus to contend with. When there is an abundance of seasonal illnesses, as well as, indoor allergies surrounding us, how do we know when a cough is the start of something serious or just a seasonal cold?

Allergy, Flu and COVID-19 Symptoms to Watch for

Allergies, colds and the flu can display similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to determine which illness your loved one is experiencing. A good starting point is to know what symptoms belong to which ailment, so you can narrow down the diagnosis and help them get the treatment they need.

What are Allergy Symptoms?

Common allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or weakness

It’s important to know that your loved one may not be experiencing all of these symptoms. Fatigue or weakness, coughing and a sore throat are less common symptoms, but they do still occur. If your loved one is suffering from allergies, symptoms should only last for the length of time allergens are present.

Flu Symptoms vs COVID-19 Symptoms

Both the flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses, which means they’ll have similar symptoms. If your loved one is suffering from the flu, they’ll likely experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Exhaustion
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Chest discomfort
  • Possible vomiting

If your loved one has contracted the COVID-19 virus, they’ll likely experience similar symptoms as the flu. Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath (different than the flu, generally)
  • Possible vomiting and diarrhea (different than flu, generally)
  • Loss of taste and/or smell (different than the flu)

Since symptoms are so similar, you’ll need to consider when your loved one may have been infected. Flu symptoms commonly arise 1-4 days after infection, while COVID-19 symptoms appear 5 days after but can show up anywhere from 2-14 days later. Another consideration is whether or not your loved one received the flu shot this year. If they did but are still getting flu-like symptoms, you should have them tested for COVID-19.

How Your Loved One Can Protect Against Colds and Flus

While you can’t protect your loved one from every illness, there are plenty of ways you can help your loved one fight off infection and stay healthy in the colder seasons.

  1. Eat well. Healthy, nutritious foods can aid the immune system. For example, foods rich in vitamins C and E support the body’s immunity response. Fix meals for your loved one that contain foods like citrus, tomatoes, sweet peppers, vegetable oils, carrots, nuts and seeds.
  2. Get frequent exercise. Regular exercise contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system and protects the body from many diseases. Help your loved one work some simple exercises into their daily routine so they can stay healthy from season to season.
  3. Get good sleep. The immune system releases infection-fighting proteins called cytokines when you’re asleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t produce as many of these proteins. Set a schedule for your loved one so they go to sleep and wake up about the same time each day, making sure they get 6-8 hours each night.

Live a Healthy Life with Garden Plaza of Florissant

Garden Plaza prioritizes the health of residents, their families and our staff members. That’s why we offer services to our assisted living residents like 24-hour nursing care, home-cooked meals and assistance with daily living activities. We are also doing everything possible to assure that residents are safe during the COVID pandemic. New policies and procedures were rolled out that follow best practices for maintaining a healthy environment. And as the vaccine begins to roll out, Garden Plaza residents will have priority access.

With Garden Plaza, your loved one can live a healthy life while maintaining dignity and receiving the personalized care they need. If you’d like to learn more about our lifestyle or our community safety precautions, contact our team today.

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