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Why is it so hard to tell the difference between flu, COVID-19, RSV?

The respiratory viruses share common symptoms.

HOUSTON — Right now, Texas is getting walloped by the flu and RSV, all while COVID-19 continues to linger. The problem is all three are respiratory viruses that have some if not all the same symptoms. Think cough, runny nose and sore throat. There are some differences to help you figure out what you have.

According to an infectious disease specialist in The Washington Post, the flu is notorious for coming on quickly with fatigue and body aches that hit you like a truck. As we know, COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms, but often starts with a sore throat. Meanwhile, with RSV, the symptoms are similar to a common cold, but they arrive in stages and not all at once. Those symptoms include sniffling and sneezing, loss of appetite and coughing.

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When in doubt, a doctor can do swab tests to determine what you have. Hospitals even have a single test to check for all three, according to The Post. While RSV can be serious in small children, it is usually milder for adults. For mild cases of all three, the treatments are pretty much the same: lots of liquids, plus over-the-counter painkillers for fever and aches. For more serious symptoms, call your doctor for advice.

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