Snot is not! How to recognise Coronavirus symptoms from a Flu or Cold

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 Snot is not! How to recognise Coronavirus symptoms from a Flu or Cold

Snot is not!
How to recognise Coronavirus symptoms from a Flu or Cold

Do not panic when confronted with Snot, as differentiation is a skill we all need to develop this winter. Fevers, chills, body aches, and coughs are all symptoms that seem the same for a cold, the flu and coronavirus infection. 

So, how do we recognise Coronavirus symptoms from a Flu or Cold?

In this article, you will find information to help you better understand the signs, symptoms, and treatments for each.

We also want to reassure you by talking a bit about all the tests that are now available and when these may help you to protect yourself and others and contribute to peace of mind.


Flu season during Coronavirus pandemic

Although we have been wary of this moment, autumn has now arrived and winter is coming, with all its consequences related to the expected increasing number of COVID-19 cases, fear of a possible second wave or the possibility of a new lockdown.

As if that were not enough, now we have to deal with the old enemy: the seasonal flu!

At this point, when part of our normal life has been taken away by restrictions and fears, it’s important to stay positive ( sometimes we need to take a break from the  news ) and be aware of our body and how to recognise symptoms.

It’s important to remember that we are coming into a season when it is not unusual to catch a cold or the flu. Especially if you are a parent or a teacher, you know only too well how easy it is for your children to catch a cold, and then pass it to you.

This is a normal part of our lives and we never got scared to death because of a  bad cold, right?

We are still navigating uncertain waters but we also have some more effective tests and some preventative treatments.


Why this year having a Flu Jab is even more important

It’s important to get the flu shot every year especially if in a vulnerable group. However it is  even more important this year because we could have a convergence of both flu and coronavirus, so anything we can do to reduce flu is going to be really important.

Also, according to research released by Public Health England (as part of the Government’s drive to improve uptake of the flu vaccine), infection with flu and coronavirus at the same time can be deadly serious.

Vaccination offers the best protection against flu and by reducing your risk you can be more conscious regarding symptoms, react promptly and ask for help.

It’s highly recommended,  to get your jab if you are high risk , but even if you are not high-risk you should consider booking your flu jab ASAP. Getting a flu shot is a safe and inexpensive way to protect yourself.

How to recognize Coronavirus symptoms from a Flu or Cold

Firstly you may want to know the symptoms of upper respiratory infections, like runny nose and sinus congestion, are very uncommon with COVID-19 and so, Snot is not! never has been more appropriate!


Coronavirus Symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms are thought to appear between 2 and 10 days after contracting the virus, which is why those who come into contact with someone with symptoms are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

Remember the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people, which is people who carry the virus but show no outward signs of being unwell.

Most common symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aching muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of smell
  • Loss of taste
  • High temperature

Less common:

  • Phlegm buildup
  • Headache
  • Hemoptysis (coughing blood)
  • Diarrhoea


  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

Cold symptoms

Cold symptoms are generally mild compared to more aggressive viruses like the flu. A cold can cause any or all of these symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough (mild)
  • Fatigue (sometimes)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches (rarely)
  • Aches and pains

A typical cold will last on average 7 to 10 days. The majority of the symptoms are actually not caused by the infection itself, but rather our body’s immune system trying get rid of it.

Most cold viruses will go away if we’re patient and give our bodies time to fight them. Your immune system is the greatest defense against the common cold.

Flu symptoms

Seasonal influenza (flu) is still active. It’s a common respiratory infection caused by a virus that affects your nose, throat, and lungs and can last from 5 to 7 days. 

Here are some common symptoms of the flu:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains
  • Runny or stuffy nose (sometimes)
  • Sore throat (sometimes)
  • Diarrhea (sometimes in children)

Unlike for colds or coronavirus, as we can see, vaccination is a good way to prevent the flu. If you received a flu shot and still catch the flu, your symptoms are generally milder than if you didn’t receive the flu shot.

Please if you have any doubts, concerns or if you want to learn further you can visit the GOV and NHS website.

COVID-19 test available for your peace of mind

As you can see COVID-19 symptoms can be similar (fever, cough) or can be quite distinct eg loss of smell or taste. Sometimes getting tested represents a chance of being reassured and able safely to get on with life without being afraid of accidentally spreading the virus.

COVID-19 Antigen test (also known as Swab Test or Diagnostic Test)

If you are unsure whether your symptoms are related to COVID-19 infection or not, you can now have your swab test done with results in up to 48 hours. This will help you to get peace of mind for yourself and others by knowing you are not currently representing a threat.

Who can get tested: everyone who develops symptoms but you can be tested simply for your peace of mind – especially if you are often in contact with high-risk categories.

Fit to Fly Certificate

You may already have heard about it or you may have taken this test already during the summer. The Fit to Fly Certificate is a swab test which is required by some airlines and countries to be done within a specific window of time before flying (48 or 72 hours before your travel).

Who can get tested: everyone, but you must get tested only if the country you are travelling to requires this certificate. In all other cases, you can still get tested but it is not mandatory.,

COVID-19 Antibody test

If you have been unwell in the past and you have experienced one or more symptoms related to COVID-19 infection, you can decide to get your Antibody test to check if your body has developed antibodies, which means you have fought the virus (and won  by producing antibodies against it!)

Who can get tested: everyone who feels well and has no symptoms. You may want to take your antibody test even without having experienced any symptoms, since you may have been asymptomatic. Also you can check for antibodies from about two weeks after you have had symptoms .


We are proud to state that our early adoption of Antibody testing (followed by the introduction of Antigen testing at your premises and home) demonstrates our Centre’s proven experience at offering a full outreach COVID-19 Testing Service at highly competitive prices.

Our laboratory partners are UKAS accredited and both our Antibody and Antigen tests are approved by Public Health England.

Contact us to book your test today!

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