Cold, Flu, or COVID? 
This year’s cold-and-flu season is predicted to be worse than previous years. A recent study revealed that due to the low-impact flu season last year, people’s bodies have lost much of their natural immunity and are more susceptible to various viruses. Additionally, COVID-19 continues to have a significant presence in our area, with Kosciusko County remaining in the orange level, though positivity rates have been recently decreasing.

Our team at K21 is dedicated to fighting viruses in Kosciusko County, and we want to provide you with the resources you need to prevent and treat illness and infection in your home.

Differentiating the Symptoms
Cold, flu, and COVID-19 attack the respiratory system. While many symptoms of these illnesses look similar, several differentiating factors can help you begin a plan of action. Here is a chart to help:

Symptom or Sign COVID-19 Cold Flu
Cough Usually (dry) Usually Usually
Muscle aches Usually Sometimes Usually
Tiredness Usually Sometimes Usually
Sneezing Rarely Sometimes Usually
Sore throat Usually Usually Usually
Runny or stuffy nose Usually Usually Usually
Fever Usually Sometimes Usually—not always
Diarrhea Sometimes Never Sometimes (more common in children)
Nausea or vomiting Sometimes Never Sometimes (more common in children)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Usually Usually Usually
New loss of taste or smell Usually (early — often without a runny or stuffy nose) Sometimes (especially with a stuffy nose) Rarely

Colds last about 7-10 days depending on a person’s exposure and immune system strength, while a flu may last around two weeks. Typically, those with COVID-19 experience symptoms for 5 days after being infected, but can be longer, appearing up to 14 days.

Preventing Illness
As you continue to take measures to prevent COVID-19, you can also apply wise sanitary decisions to keeping yourself and your family healthy this cold and flu season, such as covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. If you aren’t feeling well, choose to stay at home and away from people, drink plenty of fluids, and sleep.

If you or someone you love comes down with a cold, there are several pharmaceutical resources in our county. You can check out some over-the-counter medicines for your symptoms here. Additionally, we encourage you to get your flu shot from your family physician or a pharmacy. And don’t forget—you can also help protect yourself from the effects of COVID-19 by getting a vaccine at a location near you.

At K21, we aim to provide resources that will help you keep yourself and others healthy. For more wellness-related resources, visit