Flu and coronavirus: spot the symptoms and take action say health leaders

Flu and coronavirus symptoms can be very similar, and it is important to take appropriate action to prevent further spread, say health leaders at Shropshire CCG, and Telford and Wrekin CCG.

Both flu and coronavirus are contagious respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, which means their symptoms can be easily confused. It is important that people don’t assume their symptoms indicate one or the other, and that they take the appropriate action if necessary.

Typical flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, tiredness, and some may experience vomiting and diarrhoea.

For those eligible, the free flu vaccination is the best defence against catching the flu, with information currently being circulated by GP practices on how and when to book an appointment.

Government advice states that testing for coronavirus is required if you have at least one of the three main symptoms of coronavirus; a continuous dry cough, a high temperature or loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia).

For those with suspected coronavirus symptoms, people should self-isolate immediately,  and book a test via the Government’s dedicated website or by calling NHS on 119.

Coronavirus symptoms usually take around five days to develop from exposure, but can take between two to 14 days. Flu symptoms usually take one to four days to develop from exposure.

Dr Julian Povey, Joint Chair of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin CCGs and local GP, said: “We want to urge everyone to be aware that symptoms of these two viruses can be very similar as they share common characteristics.

“It is understandable how the two can be confused, which means it is important for people to take the appropriate action to prevent further spread of both viruses.

“It is vital that Government guidelines are followed and if you have symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate, contact NHS 119 or visit the Government website. The flu is also highly transmissible and has significant health risks so getting your vaccination is more important than ever.

“Both viruses are transmitted by physical contact and droplets from sneezes and coughs. This is why social distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings and coughing into a tissue are important actions to help prevent the spread of infection.”

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