Skip to main content


All stories

Q: How do I know if I have the flu or COVID?

Because COVID-19 has many of the same symptoms as influenza, it can be hard to tell them apart. That’s one reason we recommend that everybody get a flu shot this year -- it can help you rule out the flu if you do get sick.

Typical flu symptoms include fever, body aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and cough. You usually feel much sicker with the flu than you do with the common cold.

COVID-19 has some similar symptoms, including high fever, chills, dry cough, and fatigue. Less common symptoms can include shortness of breath, sore throat, stuffy nose, vomiting, and diarrhea.

But COVID also has some early symptoms to look out for. One of the most distinctive symptoms is the loss of smell or taste, which one study estimated is seen in about 87% of COVID cases. Some people develop skin rashes, or “COVID toes” -- redness or blisters on their hands or feet.

The bottom line is, it can be hard to tell the difference between COVID and the flu. So, if you do start having symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away, so you can be tested.

Chrissy Miller
Employee Health Manager, Maui Health