Cold Vs Coronavirus

Sep 28, 2020 Cold and Flu

As the season’s change, allergies, the common cold and the flu can be more prone depending on which season it is. All of these have similar symptoms to COVID-19, which could cause you to worry whether you have it not. 

Find out some important differences between these illnesses and what to do if you think you have COVID-19. 

What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus is the name given to a group of viruses that cause respiratory problems. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases. 

COVID-19 is a new form of coronavirus known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and was first reported in December 2019.

Common Cold vs COVID-19

COVID-19, the common cold and the flu are caused by a virus, however, it is not the same one. However, when infected, people can display similar symptoms which could potentially overlap. Because of this, it can become difficult to distinguish between the three and create concern. 

We have listed some common symptoms of COVID-19, the common cold and the flu which most people will experience. This will help you get a better understanding of the type of illness associated with each. 





Shortness of Breath








Sore Throat




Runny Nose




Aches & Pains












Loss of Taste & Smell

Rapid Onset











Source: WHO,CDC

COVID-19 symptoms generally appear between 2-14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV, whereas symptoms of a common cold usually appear 1-3 days after exposure to a cold-causing virus. Due to the overlap, we recommend having a PCR test to rule out COVID-19 and purchasing some over-the-counter remedies for the common cold. 

How is COVID-19 Transmitted?

COVID-19 can be transmitted from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak or breathe.

Current evidence suggests that the virus spreads when the infected person is in close contact with someone, typically within 1 metre. This is because the droplets containing the virus come into direct contact with the eyes, nose, and mouth. 

It can also spread in poorly ventilated and crowded indoor settings, where people spend a long period of time. This is due to the particles remaining in the air and travelling further than 1 metre. 

COVID-19 can also be transmitted by people touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus, and then they touch their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing their hands.

What to do if you have COVID-19 Symptoms

If you believe to have symptoms of COVID-19, stay at home and get a PCR test as soon as possible. 

The main COVID-19 symptoms are: 

  • A high temperature

  • A new, continuous cough

  • A loss or change to your sense of taste and smell.

How to Avoid Catching & Spreading COVID-19

There are still a number of coronavirus cases in the UK and there is a risk you can catch it and pass it on. This is true even if you’re fully vaccinated or have had the virus before. 

Here are some things you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19. Everyone aged 12 and over can book their appointment now via the NHS website. 

  • Wear a face covering in shops, on public transport and when it’s hard to stay away from other people, particularly indoors or in crowded spaces. 

  • When meeting people inside, open windows and doors to let in the fresh air.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after using the toilet, coughing or sneezing and before and after preparing food. 

  • Use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.

Face Coverings

In England, face coverings must be worn in shops and shopping centres, in public transport hubs and on public transport. This is the current government advice, and you can keep updated through the government website. 

What is a Face Covering?

With regard to COVID-19, face coverings are something that safely covers the nose and mouth. 

There are different types available, which include cloth face coverings and disposable face coverings, and they should be made out of a material that you find comfortable to wear. 

How to Wear a Face Covering Correctly

Face coverings with multiple layers and fit well around the face are best to use. They need to be worn correctly to be effective, here is how: 

  • Ensure the face covering covers your nose and mouth. 

  • The face should fit comfortably and securely against the side of your face.

  • It should be secured to the head with ties or ear loops. 

  • Ideally, the face covering should include at least 2 layers of fabric. 

  • Unless your face covering is disposable, it should be washed with other items of laundry. Single-use disposable masks should not be washed and reused.

Wearing a Face Covering

When wearing a face covering, you should: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before putting it on.

  • Avoid touching your nose and mouth that is in contact with the face covering. 

  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or have worn it for a long period of time. 

  • Avoid taking it off and putting it back on again in quick bursts.

Removing a Face Covering

When removing a face covering, you should:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds before removing and once removed. 

  • Only touch the straps, ties, or clips. 

  • Do not give it to someone else to use. 

  • If it is for single-use only, dispose of it responsibly.

  • If it is reusable, wash it with other clothing. 

  • Clean the surfaces the face-covering has touched.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

The UK now has a continuous rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Everyone needs 2 doses of the vaccine for it to be most effective to best protect you against the virus. They will help to reduce the risk of getting seriously ill or dying, reduce the risk of catching or spreading and will also protect you against the COVID-19 variants. 

The currently approved vaccines in the UK are: 

  • Moderna 

  • Oxford/AstraZeneca 

  • Pfizer

Everyone aged 12 and over can book their appointment now via the NHS website. 

Common Cold & Flu Relief

If you have had a negative PCR COVID-19 test, you will probably be dealing with a common cold or flu. 

Simply Meds carry a large range of medicines that can ease your symptoms of cold and flu, or you can contact us and one of our qualified staff members will be happy to help you.

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