Flu or Covid-19: How to differenciate them and where to get tested or vaccinated in barcelona ?

The flu vaccination campaign has just started in Spain. And in this context of temporary coincidence with the COVID-19 pandemic, health authorities recall the importance of influenza vaccination. Flu and COVID-19 are in fact two diseases that have many similarities, especially in terms of symptoms, and that can lead to important complications, especially for the most vulnerable people.

To help you distinguish between the two, we provide a checklist of the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19.



Both the flu and Covid-19 are respiratory infections similar to viral pneumonia and the viruses that cause them have many similarities such as:

  • Ways of transmission: through contact with an infected person, through respiratory droplets, or through an infected object or surface.
  • Symptoms: fever, cough, runny nose, headache, sore throat, fatigue...

Symptoms of the flu and Covid-19: how can you tell the difference?

As we have seen above, the symptoms of the flu and Covid-19 are very similar. However, some less common symptoms of Covid-19 do not occur with the flu, such as loss of taste or conjunctivitis. Similarly, you can get COVID-19 without noticing any particular symptoms, especially if you're under 30 years old.

Here's a chart that summarizes the symptoms of both diseases and their frequency:

Symptoms Flu Covid-19
Fever (+37,8°C) Frequent Frequent
Fatigue Frequent Frequent
Dry cough Frequent Frequent
Muscular cramps Frequent Frequent
Headache Frequent Frequent
Nasal discharge Occasional Occasional
Breathing Difficulty None Occasional
Chest Pressure None Occasional
Conjuntivitis None Occasional
Diarrhea None Frequent
Loss of taste and smell None Frequent
Rash None Occasional


The differences between the flu and the coronavirus

  • Incubation period: 1-3 days for flu and 3-5 days (sometimes up to 14 days) for coronavirus.
  • Speed of transmission: the speed of transmission of the virus is higher in the case of influenza (3 days compared to 5 to 6 days for Covid-19).
  • Reproduction rate: the number of secondary infections caused by a COVID-infected individual is 2 to 2.5 times higher than for the flu.
  • Type of people infected: children are important vectors for the transmission of the flu virus in their environment, which does not seem to be the case for the coronavirus.
  • Complications: unlike the flu, COVID-19 seems to exist in more severe forms and cause major complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, acute renal failure or even multivisceral failure .
  • The vaccine: to date, there is no vaccine against Sars CoV-2.

How to diagnose COVID-19 contraction in Barcelona?

Regardless of whether you have symptoms that suggest something, the only way to know if you have contracted the coronavirus is by having a test.

Therefore, if in doubt, we advise you to isolate yourself and consult a doctor by teleconsultation to explain your symptoms and your situation.

You can also make an appointment for a screening test at one of our partner laboratories in Barcelona:

  • PCR test: detects the contraction of the virus at the time of the test
  • Serological tests: to know if a person has developed an immune reaction after being in contact with the virus
  • PCR + serological test: both tests on the same day for more accuracy

Why get a flu shot?

The flu shot does not protect against contracting COVID-19. However, the Health Ministery recommends that seasonal flu vaccination be expanded for several reasons, which may be

The first is to rule out getting the flu in a vaccinated person if they have symptoms suggestive of Covid-19.

The second reason is to relieve congestion in hospitals and medical centers.

Finally, professionals want to avoid contracting the two diseases as much as possible, since the consequences that this coinfection could have are not yet known.

If you would like to get a flu shot, do not hesitate to make an appointment at Turó Park Dental & Medical Center

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