Is It the Flu, COVID, or Just a Cold?

Many of us will be plagued with runny noses, coughs, and sore throats this winter, but it can be tricky to tell whether a cold, the flu, or COVID is responsible. While symptoms may vary between people, the common cold is usually mild and more of a nuisance, while the flu or COVID can keep you in bed for days. Health experts warned this week that a wave of respiratory viruses is set to hit imminently, with cases of norovirus already rocketing. So, to help you tell the difference between viruses, doctors and scientists have broken down the most common symptoms of each. The following graphic shows the common symptoms (green check mark), occasional and possible symptoms (orange circle), and the symptoms (red X) that never occur with the common cold, flu and COVID.