With winter fast approaching and the threat of a second wave and lockdown creeping up, many are worried about how to tell the difference between the common cold, the flu and COVID symptoms. Pharmacist Navid Sole spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk on ways to distinguish them.
The challenge with these three respiratory infections is that they can all present with similar symptoms like coughs, a sore throat, a temperature, aches and pains, said Navid.
He continued: “However, the important distinction between the three is in regard to the commonality of the symptoms as well as how predominant each symptom is for each infection.
“While a lot of the symptoms for each of these illnesses cross over, each virus/infection has a different specific set of symptoms that increases the likelihood of it being that infection.
“Regular cold symptoms tend to be mild and disappear after a couple of days when compared to the flu and COVID, which can lead to more serious side effects such as pneumonia and even death.”
When asked how one can be sure they are suffering from just a cold rather than worry it may be early COVID-19 symptoms, Navid answered: “The common cold presents symptoms local to the mouth and nose, affecting only a small section of the body.
“Whereas, with the flu, you would expect the body as a whole to be affected, with symptoms from a fever to bodily aches and pains.
“Furthermore, COVID sufferers display symptoms such as a persistent fever, dry cough and specific features like the loss in taste or smell.
“What is more, with the common cold, symptoms usually peak within the first two to three days of infection, while the effects of COVID-19 appear two to 14 days after exposure.”
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) break down the differences in these highly contagious respiratory illnesses.
Those suffering with colds is more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose, and their symptoms are usually milder than flu.
Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, like pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalization.
Flu and Covid-19 can result in severe illness and complications.
Both the flu and Covid-19 generally share symptoms of a dry cough, fever, chills, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
Loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath (without underlying conditions like asthma) are also prevalent symptoms of Covid-19.
Diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting can sometimes be symptoms of the flu and Covid-19 as well.
“It is imperative to note that although we have come a long way in terms of research since the beginning of the year, we are still learning about this COVID because it is a new virus,” added Navid.
“If you’re concerned, or have COVID symptoms, please contact a healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist or GP, and follow government guidelines by self-isolating for 14 days.”
People with the cold and the flu typically show symptoms for 14 days or less, while those with coronavirus can show symptoms anywhere from seven to 25 days.
Canadian Provinces Hardest Hit by COVID-19 Reach Sobering Milestones – ChrisD.ca
By Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic released sobering numbers on Sunday, with Quebec’s overall case count passing the 100,000 mark and Ontario registering more than 1,000 single-day cases for the first time since the start of the worldwide outbreak.
Despite registering comparable daily tallies, the two provinces long at the epicentre of Canada’s COVID-19 outbreak appeared to be on opposite trajectories.
Public health experts noted that Quebec’s long-standing high case counts appeared to be levelling off, while stressing the week ahead will be crucial to bring Ontario’s surging numbers back under control.
Quebec health officials reported 879 new cases, bringing the province’s total to 100,114 infections. The province also recorded 11 additional deaths attributed to the virus, for a total of 6,143.
“Comparing the past two weeks, we see that the number of cases is stable, but remains high,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter, urging people to make an effort to reduce transmission of the virus.
The province’s recent COVID-19 numbers are more encouraging than they were last month, however, said Helene Carabin, a professor at Universite de Montreal.
Carabin said Quebec’s COVID-19 reproduction number, which measures the virus’ ability to spread, is slowly creeping lower — a positive sign that indicates people are following public health guidelines.
“The population has clearly understood that in order to limit transmission, we have to be more careful,” she said in an interview.
“We’re going in the right direction, unlike what was the case in September. Now what it tells us is that probably we will continue to have to keep being very careful during the winter months for it not to creep up.”
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s top public health officer, said in a statement Sunday that a “resurgence” of COVID-19 continues across the country.
Tam said there is a concern that Canada has not yet seen the full impact of the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, as hospitalizations and deaths generally lag behind case numbers.
Canada had 215,879 total cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, including 9,940 deaths.
Manitoba announced 161 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and the deaths of four people — two of which were related to an outbreak at a Winnipeg long-term care home where 17 people have now died.
Saskatchewan reported 60 new cases, down from its record-high of 78 that was set on Saturday, and no new deaths have been reported since Oct. 11.
Public health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case of COVID-19, while officials in New Brunswick reported two new infections and two additional deaths.
In Ontario, which recorded more than 1,000 new cases in a 24-hour period on Sunday for the first time since the pandemic took hold, at least one medical expert voiced concerns about the overall trend of the provincial figures.
The province reported 1,042 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the previous day’s single-day peak of 978 new infections. It also reported seven new deaths related to the novel coronavirus.
“Obviously no one wants to see 1,000 new cases per day,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and researcher at Toronto General Hospital.
Bogoch said that while the cause of the recent spike is not entirely clear, the week ahead will offer a critical window for assessing the province’s progress in combatting the pandemic.
“Are we going to start to see a plateau in these numbers, reflective of a successful policy implementation in the hotspots in Ontario,” Bogoch asked, referring to major metropolitan regions where the bulk of the province’s latest cases have been concentrated.
“Or will we see a continuing growth in the number of new cases per day?”
Both Ontario and Quebec have reimposed restrictions over the past several weeks to try to contain the spread of the virus during the second wave of the pandemic.
Several regions of Quebec, including Montreal and Quebec City, were placed under the highest COVID-19 alert level, which forced the closure of bars and other public venues.
Quebecers in high-risk areas have also been told to avoid seeing anyone who does not live in their household.
In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford has promised to provide an update on Monday on whether the Halton and Durham regions would join Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York in “modified Stage 2” of the province’s economic reopening plan.
Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people in Stage 2 regions, and gyms, casinos, cinemas and other venues in those areas must also be closed.
Public health officials across Canada have urged people to be extra vigilant during the second wave of the pandemic, as colder weather pushes people indoors.
In her statement, Tam said influenza and other respiratory infections place an added strain on hospitals in the fall and winter months, making it even more important to heed preventative measures.
“Right now, doing the best thing to keep our family, friends and community safer means keeping safely apart,” she said.
On Sunday, 278 people were hospitalized in Ontario due to the virus, including 79 in intensive care. In Quebec, 551 hospitalizations were recorded, of which 97 were in intensive care.
–with files from Holly McKenzie-Sutter in Toronto, Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton and Michael MacDonald in Halifax.
October 25, 2020 – COVID-19 Update from Dr. Theresa Tam – Net Newsledger
OTTAWA – COVID-19: In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement Sunday:
“As the resurgence of COVID-19 activity continues in Canada, we are tracking a range of epidemiological indicators to monitor where the disease is most active, where it is spreading and how it is impacting the health of Canadians and public health, laboratory and healthcare capacity. The following is the latest summary on national numbers and trends, and the actions we all need to be taking to maintain COVID-19 at manageable levels across the country.
Since the first cases were reported in March 2020, there have been 213,959 cases of COVID-19, including 9,922 deaths reported in Canada; these cumulative numbers tell us about the overall burden of COVID-19 illness to date. Though the cumulative number is high and continues to increase, it is important to remember that the vast majority of Canadians remain susceptible to COVID-19. This is why it is important for everyone to continue with individual precautions that will keep ourselves, our families and our communities safer.
At this time, there are 24,401 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data indicate daily averages of 2,488 new cases (Oct 16-22) and 74,719 people tested, with 3.1% testing positive (Oct 11-17). Outbreaks continue to contribute to COVID-19 spread in Canada. These vary in size from just a few cases to larger clusters occurring in a range of settings including long term care and assisted living facilities, schools, congregate living settings, industrial work settings and large social gatherings. Larger clusters tell us that closed and crowded settings and/or not sufficiently maintaining public health practises, such as physical distancing and mask wearing, can amplify spread of the virus.
While I know keeping physically apart is difficult, particularly when we want to mark life’s important moments like weddings and funerals, now is not the time for hosting large in-person gatherings. Right now, doing the best thing to keep our family, friends and community safer means keeping safely apart, connecting virtually, and finding safer ways to care and support each other.
The number of people experiencing severe illness continues to increase. Provincial and territorial data, indicate that an average of 1,010 people with COVID-19 were being treated in Canadian hospitals each day during the most recent 7-day period (Oct 16-22), including 209 of whom were being treated in intensive care units. During the same period, there were an average of 23 COVID-19-related deaths reported daily.
As hospitalisations and deaths tend to lag behind increased disease activity by one to several weeks, the concern is that we have yet to see the extent of severe impacts associated with the ongoing increase in COVID-19 disease activity. As well, influenza and respiratory infections typically increase during the Fall and Winter, placing increased demands on hospitals. This is why it is so important for people of all ages to maintain public health practises that keep respiratory infection rates low.
Canada needs a collective effort to sustain the public health response through to the end of the pandemic, while balancing the health, social and economic consequences. We can all do our part by keeping our number of in-person close contacts low and committing to proven effective public health practises; stay home/self-isolate if you have any symptoms, maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask as appropriate, and keep up with hand, cough and surface hygiene. Canadians can also go the extra mile by sharing credible information on COVID-19 risks and prevention practises and measures to reduce COVID-19 in communities and by downloading the COVID Alert app to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Read my backgrounder to access more COVID-19 Information and Resources on ways to reduce the risks and protect yourself and others.”
Canadian Press NewsAlert: Quebec reaches more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19 – Airdrie Today
MONTREAL — Quebec reached more than 100,000 total cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, becoming the first province in Canada to hit the somber milestone since the pandemic began in March.
But despite remaining the country’s coronavirus epicentre, public health experts say a recent downward trend of infections is an encouraging sign.
“It’s a moment where we all sit up and say wow, 100,000 – that’s a lot of zeroes,” said Erin Strumpf, an associate professor at McGill University specialized in health economics.
“But again I think the more important thing to be paying attention to is the trend that we’ve been seeing recently in the province.”
The province reported 879 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total to 100,114 infections since the start of the pandemic.
The curve of new infections appears to have flattened over the past few weeks though, Strumpf said in an interview.
That downward trend, she said, coincides with stricter public health guidelines that aimed to stem the spread of the virus.
The government ordered the closure of bars and gyms, among other places, in hard-hit areas and advised residents to limit their contact with people who do not live in their households.
Montreal and Quebec City are among several Quebec regions that remain under the highest COVID-19 alert.
Strumpf said it is hard to pinpoint what exact measures are responsible for flattening the curve, however.
She added that she expects to see many public health restrictions remain in place moving forward. “It’s very difficult to know right now or to predict how long those closures may stay in place,” she said.
Still, the high COVID-19 infection numbers bring up painful memories for Quebecers who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
July Mak, whose 68-year-old father Paul contracted COVID-19 in a long-term care home in Montreal and died at the end of March, said the pain of her father’s death has not eased with time.
“To see these numbers this high… it blows my mind,” Mak said in an interview Sunday.
She said she wants the Quebec government to recognize that its COVID-19 data is more than just numbers — and thousands of people across the province have been directly affected.
“They mattered,” Mak said, about the thousands who have died.
On Sunday, Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that the number of new infections is “stable but remains high.”
Those cases can turn into hospitalizations and deaths, Dube warned, urging Quebecers to remain vigilant to reduce transmission.
Quebec health officials also reported 11 additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 6,143.
Five of those additional deaths took place in the past 24 hours, five were reported between Oct. 18-23 and one occurred at an unspecified date.
Hospitalizations went up by two across the province, for a total of 551. Of those, 97 people were in intensive care — an increase of four compared to the previous day.
The province said it conducted 25,378 COVID-19 tests on Friday, the last date for which the testing data is available.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 25, 2020.
Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, The Canadian Press
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