Flu, dengue or Covid-19? Symptoms and Differences of Diseases

Do you know what flu, cold, dengue and Covid-19 have in common? In addition to the fact that they are reaching a large part of the population, all diseases are caused by a virus.

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Even if they have symptoms, to differentiate them it is important to do tests such as a blood test. In the case of Covid-19, it is also possible to do quick tests to be sure if you are infected or not.

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Is triple infection of flu, dengue and Covid-19 possible?

According to infectious disease specialists, there is still little information about a possible triple infection of the diseases caused by the viruses. That is, it is not possible, for the time being, to say whether a person diagnosed with a disease can accumulate more symptoms of other infections.

For now, the risks and symptoms are the same for each disease. The patient can feel several of them, as well as be asymptomatic.

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The flu

THE the flu It is a disease caused by the Influenza virus. Because it has an extensive family with different subtypes and hundreds of mutations, even if there is a flu vaccine, it must be updated annually. After all, this immunization must be done according to the most recent virus.

The disease is often confused with colds and also with Covid-19, as their symptoms are similar. However, the incubation period is shorter. That is, the symptoms appear quickly, and the worsening is acute. In Covid-19, incubation has a long period, with the body taking up to five days to manifest symptoms.

People can be infected with the flu virus alone
People can be infected with the flu virus alone

(Photograph: )

flu symptoms

You most common flu symptoms involve cough (most often dry), fever, headache, body aches, malaise and tiredness. In addition, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, and diarrhea (in children) may be present.


Even if the flu is transmitted by a virus, it is possible to take certain measures to help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Some ways to prevent the flu are:

  • Cover your nose when coughing and sneezing;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water;
  • Use a disposable tissue to clean your nose;
  • Do not share objects for personal use;
  • Maintain well-ventilated areas;
  • Avoid closed places;
  • Avoid agglomerations;
  • Avoid contact with people who have the flu;
  • Always stay hydrated;
  • Keep immunity high;
  • Avoid stressful situations;
  • Practice physical exercises;
  • Adhere to the flu vaccination.

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Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue
Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which transmits dengue

(Photograph: )

THE dengue is a viral infection transmitted through the bite of a female mosquito that is infected with a flavivirus. Most of the time, this mosquito is Aedes aegypti, also responsible for transmitting the virus that causes chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika Virus).

The dengue virus is made up of 4 different serotypes: DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4, each of which has different interactions with human antibodies. In this way, a person can be infected by 4 different possibilities.

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symptoms of dengue

The main dengue symptoms include high fever, which occurs abruptly at the beginning of the infection, body aches, joint pain, pain behind the eyes, lack of appetite, headaches, red spots on the body. Unlike other diseases, dengue does not cause respiratory symptoms, such as a runny nose, sore throat, nasal obstruction and cough.

The infection can last from 4 to 10 days. However, the impact caused by the disease can last for a few weeks. Dengue can be classified as non-severe or severe, and its diagnosis must be performed by means of a clinical examination associated with a blood test.

Non-severe dengue may or may not have warning signs. When these signs are not present, the person suffers from symptoms such as nausea, fever, vomiting, headaches, muscle aches, eye pain, joint pain and redness in the body.

When the case is classified as non-serious with warning signs, the individual may have more alarming symptoms after the fever ceases, such as bleeding, persistent vomiting, dizziness, accumulation of fluid in body cavities (such as the lung), enlargement of the liver and blood concentration.

In dengue considered severe, there is the presence of one or more manifestations, presenting difficulties in breathing, impairment of organs such as the liver, kidneys, brain and heart, significant bleeding and shock.

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To avoid a disease that can lead the individual to death quickly, simple precautions can be adopted. After all, it is enough to prevent the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito with measures such as:

  • keep the water tanks covered;
  • Do not leave water accumulated on the slab or in backyards;
  • Keep trash closed;
  • Use sand in potted plants, avoiding the accumulation of water;
  • Leave bottles, cups and other containers upside down;
  • Keep the tarps taut;
  • Remove water from tires;
  • Do not leave standing water anywhere.

In addition, the use of some products can help to avoid the presence of the mosquito. Therefore, it is part of the care to use repellents, larvicides and insecticides, keeping the transmitter of the disease away.

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The Covid-19 infection is caused by the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus and, in all its variations, it can occur with or without symptoms, a situation that is changing according to the variant responsible for the infection.

Covid-19 can present itself in three forms: mild, moderate or severe. The diagnosis of the disease can be performed through clinical examination and also by laboratory tests performed from samples taken from the nose and mouth.

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Symptoms of Covid-19

You Covid-19 symptoms can be easily confused with those of cold, flu and, in some cases, even with dengue. Among the most common symptoms are:

  • dry cough;
  • fever;
  • tiredness;
  • loss of smell;
  • loss of taste;
  • headaches;
  • Sore throat;
  • bloodshot eyes;
  • airway irritation;
  • eye irritation;
  • diarrhea;
  • skin rashes;
  • loss of mobility;
  • speech loss;
  • chest pains;
  • mental confusion;
  • shortness of breathe.

With the passage of time and the delay for the eradication of the virus, some variants began to emerge and became new concerns in relation to Covid-19, such as the alpha, beta, delta and omicron variant.

While the delta variant has symptoms similar to those of alpha, such as cough, sore throat, headaches, abdominal pain, nasal obstruction and skin manifestation, the omicron variant, the most contagious among them, had other types of symptoms:

  • fatigue;
  • coryza;
  • Sore throat;
  • sneezing;
  • headaches;
  • body pain;
  • loss of smell;
  • loss of taste;
  • continuous cough;
  • fever;
  • shortness of breathe;
  • chill
  • diarrhea.

It is important to point out that the symptoms of Covid-19 are very common, for this reason they are easily confused with other diseases. However, according to surveys and studies by experts around the world, other not so common signs may be associated with Covid-19, such as skin lesions, hair loss and anxiety.

These symptoms may be present at the time of infection and also after the individual has recovered. This condition is known as long Covid, and affects millions of people infected with the disease around the world.

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Unlike dengue, the worsening of symptoms of Covid-19 is not so accelerated. However, whether the omicron or other variants, the virus is extremely serious and can lead to death when the individual is not immunized with the disease, or even in cases where there are other comorbidities.

In Brazil, Covid-19 caused the death of more than 600,000 people, so seeking all forms of prevention is essential to avoid risks and also prevent the virus from continuing to spread.

In this way, it is possible to prevent Covid-19 from continuing to undergo different mutations and increasing its variants. In addition, we can prevent the virus from reaching people who could not receive the vaccine and, therefore, are at greater risk of life if they contract the disease.

Prevention measures against Covid-19 are very similar to those adopted to avoid the flu and colds. Thus, to avoid infection by the Novocoronavirus, it is necessary to:

  • Make use of masks;
  • Maintain hand hygiene with soap and water;
  • Use gel alcohol whenever necessary;
  • Keep environments ventilated;
  • Do not touch your eyes, mouth and nose frequently;
  • Avoid agglomerations and closed places;
  • Avoid contact when greeting a person;
  • Always wash your hands before eating;
  • Use a tissue when sneezing;
  • Cover your mouth when coughing;
  • Adhere to vaccination against Covid-19.

> Flu, Covid-19 or rhinitis? Know the difference between these and other respiratory diseases


Like the flu, colds are caused by viruses. However, by different types, such as rhinovirus, adenovirus and parainfluenza. While the onset of flu symptoms is abrupt, with a cold, they appear gradually, and are usually mild.

cold symptoms

Symptoms of a cold include sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, mild cough, low-grade fever, headache and diarrhea (in children).


The main ways to prevent colds are practically the ones that should be adopted to avoid the flu. I.e:

  • Avoid contact with sick people;
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth;
  • Take care of hygiene;
  • Clean and disinfect environments;
  • Adopt healthy habits;
  • Stay hydrated;
  • Eat well;
  • Do not share objects;
  • Avoid closed places;
  • avoid agglomerations
  • Open the windows.

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How to test and diagnose flu, dengue or Covid-19

To be sure that you are infected with any of the diseases and infections caused by viruses, whether flu, dengue, Covid, or even a cold, it is necessary for the patient to look for a doctor or specialized place to do the tests and have the exact conclusion of the case. . See how the tests and diagnoses of each of the diseases are.

For Covid-19

Rapid antigen test and RT-PCR, both performed on material collected by nasal swab. Tests should be done from the first to the seventh day of symptoms. None of them, if negative, exclude the possibility of illness. If either test is positive, confirmation is not required. The diagnosis can now be made.

for influenza/flu

Rapid antigen test, RT-PCR. It is very important that the exam is taken at the beginning of symptoms, since the medication used for treatment must be started within the first 48 hours after the onset of symptoms.

for dengue

Search for NS1 antigen, present in the first days of infection. From the fifth day of symptoms, the diagnosis can be made through serological tests for the detection of antibodies, IgM (acute phase of infection) and IgG. In patients who have had dengue before, with some frequency IgG is detected and IgM is not. Confirmation can be performed by RT-PCR.

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