How to know if your cough is due to COVID, flu, cold, or TB​

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COVID: It can be difficult to identify the source of a chronic cough because the symptoms of several respiratory disorders are often identical. Coughing can be a symptom of COVID-19, influenza (flu), the common cold, and tuberculosis (TB), but it can be distinguished from the other conditions by looking for specific traits. It’s crucial to keep in mind that a medical expert should be sought for an appropriate diagnosis because certain symptoms may coexist and certain tests are required to determine the cause.

How does a COVID cough look like?


The hallmark of COVID cough is a dry, persistent cough. In contrast to other respiratory infections, it might not produce mucus. The COVID-related cough can be bothersome and may be a factor in chest and throat pain. There can be additional symptoms present as well. Fever is a common symptom of COVID and can range in severity from moderate to severe. Breathing difficulties, encompassing dyspnea, are prevalent and can vary in intensity. Extreme exhaustion is a common complaint. Abrupt loss of taste or smell is an uncommon sign of COVID-19. COVID symptoms usually start to show up two to fourteen days following viral exposure.


How does a flu cough look like​?

A dry or productive cough that is sudden and strong can be brought on by the flu. Mucus production may occur with influenza-related coughs. Flu symptoms include fever and body aches in addition to cough. A typical flu symptom is fever, which is frequently accompanied by chills. Severe discomfort in the muscles and body are typical. Influenza infections frequently cause headaches. The flu usually manifests itself within a few days of exposure.

How does a cough during common cold feel like​?

The common cold typically causes mild to moderately severe coughs.

Mucus from the cough may be clear or yellow in colour. Common cold symptoms include runny or congested noses, frequent sneezes, coughs, mild sore throats, and mild exhaustion, but the latter is usually less severe than COVID or influenza. Over a few days, ordinary cold symptoms progressively worsen.


How does a cough during Tuberculosis (TB) look like?

A persistent cough that lasts longer than three weeks is a hallmark of tuberculosis. Bloody or blood-tinged sputum is one of the hallmarks of tuberculosis.

Along with this ongoing cough, this patient has an inexplicable weight loss, which is typical of TB patients. Severe weakness and exhaustion may be experienced, and frequent night sweats are a typical sign. A low-grade fever or an intermittent fever may manifest together with chest pain or discomfort. TB symptoms appear gradually over several weeks or even months.

Prevention and precautions​:

It is imperative to maintain proper hygiene and take preventive measures regardless of the reason behind the cough:

Hand hygiene: Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently with soap and water.

Respiratory Hygiene: When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow.

Social Distancing: Remain physically apart from sick people and stay away from big crowds.

Vaccination: Get the recommended vaccinations, such as the COVID-19 and influenza shots, if necessary.

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How to know if your cough is due to COVID, flu, cold, or TB​
How to know if your cough is due to COVID, flu, cold, or TB​