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COVID-19 vs Flu : Tuscaloosa doctor explains the difference

FILE / ABC3340
FILE / ABC3340
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TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBMA) It can be hard telling the difference between COVID-19 and the flu, according to one local Tuscaloosa physician.

Dr. Phillip Bobo at Emergi-Care Clinic said the two viruses share many similarities.

"A lot of it looks identical, you can't tell it apart from the regular flu or from a common cold," Dr. Bobo said.

According to Dr. Bobo, people with severe symptoms have a better chance of identifying the virus. Severe symptoms include shortness of breath, pneumonia or sepsis. Elderly and those with weak immune systems have a higher chance of developing the severe symptoms.

Less severe symptoms are cough, cold and congestion. Dr. Bobo said it all depends on what stage you're in.

"Some people who have tested positive have no symptoms, but about 80 percent of the people that have it have flu-like syndrome."

To avoid catching the virus, Dr. Bobo said people should avoid high-risk areas and stay six feet away from others. He also doesn't recommend sharing food, beverages or shaking hands.

The World Health Organization describes the most common symptoms of COVID-19 as fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Those interested in knowing where the coronavirus is can check on ABC3340's tracking map.

More COVID-19 (coronavirus) information.

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