What’s the difference between COVID, Flu, and RSV?

woman laying on a couch while blowing her nose with a tissue

Return To Our Respiratory Panel

During cold and flu season, it helps to know the difference between the symptoms of common respiratory viruses: RSV, COVID, and the Flu.

Is there a difference between the Flu, COVID-19, and RSV?


All of these are highly contagious respiratory infections caused by viruses. However, the viruses are different and can have different effects: The flu by influenza virus, COVID-19 by SARS-CoV-2 virus, and RSV by respiratory syncytial virus

What are the symptoms of the flu, COVID-19, and RSV?


The Flu and COVID have incredibly similar symptoms. However, it can take longer for people with COVID-19 to show symptoms and a unique covid trait is loss of taste. However, all of the following symptoms are symptoms of COVID and the Flu:

  • Fevers
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Cough
  • Muscle soreness
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat

RSV also shares some of these symptoms but they can tend to be more severe for young children and elderly adults. These cases are often accompanied by fevers and wheezing. Sometimes these cases will require hospitalization. For most adults the virus will go away in about one to two weeks.


How do I determine if I have COVID-19 or the flu?

Since it is difficult to tell the difference between infections with these viruses we recommend you get tested.

Our Respiratory Viral Panel (COVID19/FLU/RSV) determines what type of infection you have. The test determines if you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B, and/or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and is available through nationwide. If you’re in the Orlando-area, we offer this panel at our main lab location near Lake Ellenor.


Order Our Respiratory Viral Panel


Jack Towers

Leave a Reply