Go down with an error? Use the DailyMail.com guide to find out if it’s Covid, flu or RSV

Flu season is back this year with a bang.

After Covid wiped out most other respiratory illnesses in 2020 and 2021, more familiar viruses are returning this year at rates officials haven’t seen in years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting high levels of both influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this flu season.

Experts have described this surge as the worst the nation has faced since the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

Covid still lingers too. The United States has an average of 49,070 daily infections and 274 deaths.

In Los Angeles, officials are even pondering the return of an inner mask mandate amid a recent spike in cases.

Each of these respiratory viruses share many symptoms and can easily be confused with one another.

But they also have unique symptoms that set them apart from each other.

So, since all three diseases can affect people in similar ways, here’s your guide to what’s really behind your runny nose, cough, or aches and pains.

The graph shows: Common (green tick), occasional (orange circle) and never (red cross) symptoms of the common cold, hay fever and Covid

respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

The often overlooked RSV took the US by storm this fall, circulating widely among children and causing hospitals across the country to fill up.

The CDC reports that the virus infected 15,843 Americans during the week ending November 19.

It is most dangerous for young children and causes between 300 and 500 deaths each year according to the CDC.

The respiratory virus is also a danger for adults over 65 years of age, although less than covid or influenza.

The main public agency reports that runny nose, coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath are typical symptoms of the virus.

Although children often also experience fever and loss of appetite when infected, these symptoms are rarer among adults with symptomatic cases of RSV.

Unlike other respiratory viruses, RSV does not cause significant stomach problems.

Symptoms such as loss of smell and taste, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting are usually not associated with the condition.

People suffering from gastrointestinal problems are likely to be suffering from another non-Covid related respiratory illness.

While a person suffering from RSV can sometimes experience aches and pains or fatigue during the day, these symptoms are more rare, according to officials.

In the most serious cases, a young child may suffer from inflammation of the small airways in the lungs, called bronchiolitis, or pneumonia, an infection of the lungs.

COVID-19

Los Angeles warns it could reinstate indoor MASK MANDATE in a few weeks as Covid cases rise

Masks are about to become mandatory indoors in Los Angeles in the coming weeks as Democratic officials panic over rising covid cases.

The county’s Covid response policy states that after a period of ‘high’ Covid transmission, a mask mandate will be activated. In previous instances the term was set at 14 days.

Los Angeles County is recording 3,186 daily Covid infections, a large increase from the 1,000 daily cases recorded in early November. It is also recording eight deaths every day.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County’s director of public health, said Thursday that the town was transitioning from “low” to “medium” Covid transmission. If case and hospitalization trends continue, it will hit a “high” level next week, she warned.

“We would say again that our health care system is getting stressed, we need to slow down transmission,” Dr. Ferrer said during a news conference on Thursday.

He did not specify when exactly the masks would return, but had previously set a two-week schedule.

“We’ll have to look at the rate of increase and what we’re seeing in terms of that to decide what that time frame is. [to reinstate masks] it would be,” he added.

The Southern California county, home to nearly 10 million residents, only lifted its mask order in March.

At the start of the pandemic, people were told to watch for three warning signs of Covid: loss of taste or smell, ongoing cough, and fever.

But as new variants evolved and vaccinations and repeated waves blunt the threat of the virus, the official list of symptoms kept growing.

Officials now recognize 12 symptoms associated with Covid.

According to the UK ZOE symptom tracker study, the most common signs of the virus are now runny nose (66 per cent), sore throat (65 per cent), headache (64 per cent), persistent cough (63 per cent), percent) and fatigue. (62 percent).

But due to the range of symptoms and the high prevalence of the virus, Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, who led the study, encourages people to get tested anyway.

The virus is still circulating in the United States, but not at the same rate as in previous winters.

The country registers around 50,000 daily infections, half of the 100,000 registered at the beginning of December 2021.

The most unique feature of Covid is the complete loss of smell or taste, known as anosmia, which is rarely reported in colds and hay fever.

Researchers at Harvard University published a study in July 2020 showing that the virus invades cells in the blood vessels and stem cells in the nose that provide energy to the nerves that transmit the sense of smell to the brain.

However, Omicron is less likely to cause loss of taste or smell because the variant multiplies deeper in the lungs than in the nose, experts believe.

Of the newer symptoms listed for Covid, only diarrhea and nausea or vomiting are unique to the virus and not also caused by RSV or the common cold.

It suggests that if you have this on top of a cough, it may be Covid.

Officials instruct people to stay home and avoid contact with others if they have Covid symptoms.

Common cold

The common cold can affect people throughout the year, but it is more common during the winter.

Two years of lockdown have reduced people’s immunity to colds. This sparked a flurry of colds across the United States this year, as experts warn the ‘immune naive’ population is ripe for the virus to circulate.

CDC reported 32,733 new cases of influenza during the week ending November 26, the highest total for the 2022 season.

Coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and sneezing are the most common symptoms caused by the hundreds of viruses that cause common colds.

Aches and pains, fever, headaches, fatigue, and loss of appetite can also be telltale signs, while loss of taste or smell is also an occasional symptom.

The absence of puffy eyes could be a sign that you are actually experiencing a cold rather than a seasonal allergy.

Meanwhile, having diarrhea, nausea, or shortness of breath in addition to the above symptoms could indicate that it’s actually Covid rather than a simple cold you’re experiencing.

Symptoms occur when any of 200 different viruses cause inflammation of the membranes lining the nose and throat.

They are not actually caused by cold weather, but the body is more susceptible to infections when the immune system is weaker, which can be caused by a drop in temperature.

Marc Donovan, Boots UK’s chief pharmacist, told MailOnline: “Colds can still occur during the warmer months and usually involve sneezing and coughing, along with a sore throat, headache and sometimes loss of of taste and smell”.

“You might consider taking pain relievers to help relieve aches or relieve nasal congestion with a decongestant nasal spray or decongestant tablets.”

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