COVID-19 vs. The Common Cold: Know their Differences in Symptoms and Nature

The common cold has been closely associated with the coronavirus because of its similar symptoms. However, this misconception and false claims may prove fatal as the virus has life-threatening effects on the immunocompromised and vulnerable demographic. If seen or treated like it was “just a bad cold,” there may be irreversible consequences and can affect society as a whole in terms of response to this pandemic. Learn the differences to further understand the nature of this virus compared to a minor cold.

COVID-19 vs. The Cold: Similarities, Differences, and Warning Signs

Similar Symptoms

Both the common cold and COVID-19 are viral infections that affect the respiratory system. However, the common cold has gone through years of testing and has been found to be harmless. Recovery is relatively quick, depending on one’s immune system. But the novel coronavirus broke out in late 2019 and has since caused a global health crisis as the nature of the disease is fairly new, and it has the ability to become fatal to many. In that sense, the coronavirus should never be referred to as “just a bad cold.”

However, no one should subject themselves to complete paranoia when becoming sick during these times. That is why it is important to stay informed and know what to look out for, especially since the end of the year is typically the season where people get sick due to temperature changes. The following are the similarities that the common cold has with the coronavirus.


The body feels a lot weaker when attacked with any infection. As a result, one may easily become fatigued whether or not they have the cold or COVID-19. The difference is that when infected with the virus, aches and pains aren’t as frequent as they are when infected with a cold.


Coughing is a natural response of the body when the throat feels irritated. While dry cough may be a symptom of the virus, you don’t have to flinch every time you see someone cough. For the common cold, coughing is often mild and induced to eliminate phlegm that may be blocking the passageway. Sore throat is very common for the cold as well, which is less common for one infected with the coronavirus.

Different Symptoms

The common cold and COVID-19 have vastly different symptoms that make them distinguishable from the other. For one, a cold is relatively harmless and can pass in a few days. The coronavirus is a new viral infection that is responsible for many deaths across the country. Here are the many symptoms that are worth mentioning that make these two viruses differ.

Sneezing and a Runny Nose

This is the one symptom that makes the common cold very different from the coronavirus. A cold is characterized by a stuffy nose (excess of mucus) and sneezing. Coronavirus patients rarely experience runny noses. 


While a common cold may make you feel weak, it ultimately does not result in a fever. This symptom is often present in the coronavirus. 


People usually acquire a cold almost abruptly, as if it comes out of nowhere. A common cold’s downtime or healing period isn’t for a long period. At most, it could last a week. The novel coronavirus takes some time to manifest, which makes it tricky to detect at first. Symptoms don’t all come at once. 

Warning Signs

Loss of Taste and Smell

One of the coronavirus’s telltale signs is anosmia, which is the loss of taste and smell. The common cold does not exhibit this at all. Once this begins to manifest in your system, it is best to get tested. 

Shortness of Breath

This is the symptom of COVID-19 that could turn into something severe. When you feel other symptoms with this one on top of that, you must immediately seek medical attention.

How to Prevent Getting any Viral Infection this Season

Whether it’s the common cold or the coronavirus, the important thing to do during the cold season is to protect yourself from getting sick regardless if it were just the common cold. As the year has taught us, it is important to focus on health and well-being and strengthen the immune system to fight any type of infection. Here are several ways to achieve that this season.

Eat Food with Plenty of Nutrients and Vitamins

Eating healthy is a long-term investment for your health that will prove to be an advantage as you get older. Go for food that naturally contains nutrients and vitamins that boost the immune system. 

Limit Going Out in Public

The less time you spend outside, the less likely you will interact or be around an infected environment. Both viral diseases are airborne, which means they are easily transmitted in the air. Plus, it is best to stay indoors during the cold weather to stay warm and prevent seasonal allergies from acting up.

Practice Proper Health Protocols

It is crucial more than ever to practice proper handwashing and constant sanitation. Physical contact must be limited, and it is best to stay at a safe distance from others. 

Receive Treatment at a Fully Protected Facility

If you or a loved one are currently seeking treatment for cancer of any form, then you most likely would need to visit the treatment center regularly. But with the current situation at bay, it is much riskier to be in a health care facility. 

New Hope Unlimited is a medical center that has taken every safety precaution to ensure patients have a safe and comfortable visit to receive alternative treatments to help reduce the effects of their cancer. Contact us to find out more about our service and when and where you can receive treatment.


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