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Top Questions Around Coronavirus, Answered

How Do We Know the Difference Between Coronavirus and the Flu?

It’s hard to tell them apart just on symptoms; ideally when we do a lab test you could tell if it’s influenza or if it’s a COVID-19 infection. But with both of these infections you’re going to have fevers, cough, sometimes shortness of breath. So, what do we do when it’s a viral infection? We stay home to try to get better and take anti-fever medicine if needed. But, if you’re experiencing shortness of breath or more severe symptoms, this is when you should seek medical care so that a health care provider can evaluate and test you.

Why Do Some Get Sicker than Others with Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions around who the COVID-19 infection effects. In children less than 15 years of age, most of the time they do not have an infection or just have a mild infection. For our adult population, it’s really good to know that over 80% would just have mild infection symptoms like any other viral infection. We should stay at home, drink fluids, rest, and take anti-fever medicine like Tylenol or Ibuprofen if needed. Who is at higher risk? People with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease, are at higher risk. If your immune system is not very strong, you are doing chemo therapy, or if you’re over the age of 60, you could be at higher risk.  So head to the ER if you have symptoms and we can take care of you. Be sure to call ahead so staff can prepare.

What Safety Measures Should I Take to Protect Myself From Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

We still have to our daily living to do, so here are some safety measures that have been known to be effective. For infection prevention good hand hygiene, like washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and using hand sanitizer, is extremely important. We all need to be doing hand hygiene to protect each other. If you’re around somebody who is having a cough or runny nose, staying 6 feet from them will help prevent the droplet spread. Of course, if you’re sick  you should stay home so you protect others from getting the viral infection.

If you think you may be at risk, take our questionnaire.

For more information, see the CHI Health coronavirus page or go to

Renuga Vivekanandan, MD
Renuga Vivekanandan, MD

Renuga Vivekanandan, MD is an Infectious Disease provider with CHI Health.

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