TCM Practitioners Set Out Key Difference Between Colds and COVID-19 and Remind Easy Avoidance Measures

By David Chu
David Chu
David Chu
August 28, 2022 Updated: August 28, 2022

More people get a cold during seasonal change as the climate becomes unstable, and the temperature difference between morning and evening is big. The common symptoms of infection with Omicron are similar to those of getting a cold.

So how can you tell if you are infected with COVID-19 or a cold? A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner pointed out the symptoms and differences of COVID-19, the Omicron variant virus, common flu, and a cold, and reminded five measures for self-protection and avoiding infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping around the world, with more than 500 million confirmed cases. In particular, the Omicron variant is the main virus strain. The existing data shows that although Omicron is easily transmitted, the symptoms are relatively minor, which is very similar to the symptoms of a common cold.

According to data from the COVID-19 symptom tracking software ZOE, the five most common symptoms of patients who tested positive for COVID-19 are a runny nose (83 percent), fatigue (71 percent), sore throat (69 percent), headache (69 percent) and sneezing (68 percent).

In response to the findings, Lou Chun-liang, the founding chairman of the Taiwan Traditional Chinese Medicine Preventive and Health Care Association, posted on Facebook that the symptoms of Omicron variant virus and COVID-19 are similar to the common cold and flu, but after comparing the symptoms and characteristic of the COVID-19, Omicron variant virus, and common cold and flu carefully, the differences are:

  • Cold: fever, respiratory symptoms, and 1-2 symptoms all over the body.
  • Flu: fever, headache, respiratory symptoms, symptoms all over the body, muscle aches.
  • COVID-19: fever, dry cough, fatigue, some have nasal congestion or runny nose, loss of taste/smell, muscle pain, diarrhea.
  • Omicron: dry cough, extreme fatigue, muscle soreness, hoarse throat, some have a fever, loss of taste/smell.

In particular, respiratory symptoms include cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, and so on; while symptoms all over the body include headache, body aches, fatigue, and so on.

Dr. Lou pointed out that colds are usually caused by cold weather, soaked by rain, excessive fatigue, and weakened immunity. While flu is more common in seasonal changes, and the virus is transmitted through droplets, usually a group of people is infected at the same time.

He emphasized that the infection routes of the COVID-19 and Omicron variants are categorized into air transmission and contact transmission. The former is through coughing and sneezing, and the latter is through touching the virus-carrying object, surface or handshaking, and other intimate contacts, and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

The difference between common colds and flu is that when symptoms such as fever, dry cough (hoarseness), fatigue (muscle soreness), loss of taste/smell, and so on appear, they may be the signs of COVID-19 and Omicron, and patients should consider seeking medical attention.

Dr. Lou reminded us that although we do not know when the pandemic will end, everyone should keep good personal hygiene and pandemic prevention measures to avoid being infected. He also concluded the five major self-protection measures:

  • Travel less: especially during holidays, avoid high-risk areas.
  • Avoid going to crowded places: contact with confirmed patients will increase the chance of being infected, try to avoid going to crowded places.
  • Wear a mask: if a patient coughs near you, wearing a mask can reduce the chance of being infected, and you should change the mask frequently.
  • Proper hand washing: wash your hands at least 20 seconds, and wash your hands after taking public transportation or elevators, and before eating.
  • Improve immunity: maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly, take supplements such as vitamins C and D, and strengthen the immune system.
David Chu