With so many illnesses going around these days, it can be a real head-scratcher trying to figure out what's got you feeling under the weather.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 35 states have been dealing with high levels of respiratory illnesses since late December.  Influenza has seen the biggest jump at 4.8%, followed by COVID-19 with a 2.5% increase, and RSV with an 0.8% rise.

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So, if you're starting to feel under the weather, you're definitely not alone. But here's the tricky part: How do you know which one of these illnesses you've caught if you start experiencing symptoms like a cough or fever?

Wavebreakmedia Ltd-Source Getty Stock / ThinkStock
Wavebreakmedia Ltd-Source
Getty Stock / ThinkStock

Fear not, I've got a little cheat sheet for you, straight from NBC News and The CDC.

COVID-19, RSV, and the flu all spread through respiratory droplets and are caused by viruses, making them pretty similar in how they affect us.

They share common symptoms like cough, fever, fatigue, congestion, and a sore throat.

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Demystifying Respiratory Illnesses: Recognizing COVID-19, Flu, And RSV

But there are some differences you should know about. For instance, with COVID-19, while most folks have mild symptoms, there's a higher chance of getting seriously ill compared to the flu or RSV. Plus, some people can be carriers without showing any symptoms themselves.

With COVID-19, symptoms usually pop up within two to 14 days after exposure, which is longer compared to the flu. Also, COVID patients may be contagious for a longer time.

The flu hits fast and hard. You might get a fever as high as 103 to 104 degrees and feel absolutely miserable. Nausea and vomiting are also more common with the flu than with other viruses.

mheim3011/Getty Images
mheim3011/Getty Images

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Symptoms

RSV is usually moderate for most people but can be serious for young kids and older adults.

One unique symptom to look out for is wheezing, especially in children. Most kids get RSV by the time they're 2, and they usually recover on their own.

But sometimes it can lead to complications like bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

Can You Get The Flu and COVID at the Same Time?

If you're wondering if you could have caught two viruses at once, like COVID-19 and the flu, it's possible but not super common.

However, it's something to consider, especially if your symptoms seem severe.



If you're feeling sick, it's a good idea to reach out to your doctor. They might recommend testing to figure out what's going on.

Stay safe and take care of yourself!

LOOK: 11 tick-borne illnesses and what to watch out for during your outdoor adventures

Stacker compiled a list of 11 common tick-borne diseases in the U.S. and what symptoms to watch out for, using a variety of medical and government sources. 

Gallery Credit: Martha Sandoval



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