Cold and flu season is upon us, and with it, the all-too-familiar sneezes and coughs.
But with the rise of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, some people are experiencing another troubling symptom: worry that each sneeze or cough could be a sign of COVID-19.
The best way to prevent worrying is to get vaccinated as soon as possible for the flu and COVID-19. That’s your strongest defense against both illnesses.
Both vaccines are offered at no cost to Kaiser Permanente members, both at our facilities and at select retail pharmacies. Visit kp.org/flu to find flu shot locations near you. Schedule your COVID-19 vaccination at kp.org/covidvaccine.
The chart below lays out the most common symptoms of a cold, the flu, and COVID-19. In most healthy people, a cold or the flu will go away on its own. If you need care or advice, we offer members several options, including completing an e-visit on kp.org/evisits, scheduling a video or phone appointment, calling the advice number on your member ID card, or emailing your doctor.
To help protect yourself and those around you, it’s best not to visit our facilities unless a clinician has determined you require an in-person appointment.
|Signs and symptoms||Cold||Flu||COVID-19|
|Symptom onset||Gradual||Sudden||2 to 14 days|
|Muscle and body aches||Slight||Common||Sometimes|
|Fever over 100 degrees||Rare||Common||Common|
|Loss of taste or smell||Never||Never||Sometimes|
|Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing||Rare||Common||Common|
|Runny or stuffy nose||Common||Common||Rare|