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Health

Why do you need to know well what are the similarities and what are the differences between flu and COVID-19, especially heading into next fall?

The autumn season is approaching, when we are exposed to the cold and rains, with which respiratory diseases proliferate, and we also spend more time in closed spaces, where the risk of contagion of diseases increases.

Given the pandemic situation, at the first sneeze, runny nose, discomfort or a rise in body temperature, many of us will wonder: have I contracted the flu of a lifetime, or is it a newcomer coronavirus … ?

It may not be one or the other, and is only a temporary annoyance, but the uncertainty does not stop causing unease.

That is why it is useful to know the similarities and differences between the flu, caused by influenza viruses A and B, and COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, according to the guidelines collected and updated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (www.cdc.gov).

1.- Signs and symptoms

The most common symptoms of both COVID-19 and the flu include: fever, to a greater or lesser extent, chills, cough, feeling short of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle pain, body aches , headache, vomiting and diarrhea (the latter is more common in children).

One of the signs or symptoms of COVID-19, which differs from those of the flu, are changes or loss of smell or taste, according to the CDC, which recommends going to the hospital emergency room if these ‘warning signs’ occur from COVID-19: shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, or bluish discoloration of the lips or face.

2.- Symptoms

In both COVID-19 and the flu, a day or more may pass from the time the person has been infected until the moment when they begin to manifest symptoms, with the difference that those affected by coronavirus may take longer to present symptoms in a variable time range, according to the CDC.

In general, people present symptoms between 1 and 4 days after having contracted the flu infection, while coronavirus patients present symptoms 5 days after being infected, although symptoms can also appear between 2 and 14 days after infection , according to this entity.

3.- Contagiousness

In both conditions, people can spread the virus for at least 1 day before having symptoms, but a person with COVID-19 could be contagious for longer than if they had the flu, which is still being investigated, according to the CDC (www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/flu-vs-covid19.htm).

According to this body, it is possible that people can spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus about 2 days before showing signs or symptoms, and remain contagious for at least 10 days after the first appearance of signs or symptoms.

A person who is asymptomatic or whose symptoms have disappeared, can continue to be contagious for at least 10 days after a positive test result in the detection of COVID-19, reports the CDC.

4.- Propagation

COVID-19 and the flu can spread from person to person among those in close contact, through droplets that go through the air when the person coughs, sneezes or talks, and it is possible for a person to become infected through the physical contact (shaking hands) or touching a surface or object with the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

Regarding the differences, the CDC notes that COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu in certain populations and age groups, and it has been observed that the coronavirus can spread quickly and easily to very many people and cause a continuous interpersonal spread to as time goes by.

5.- Risk groups

Both COVID-19 and the flu can cause serious ailments and complications, with older people at the highest risk, and especially those with underlying health conditions, in addition to pregnant women, according to the CDC.

This body adds that babies and children with underlying conditions are at greater risk of contracting both one and the other disease.

Regarding the differences, this source reports that young children are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from the flu, while school-age children with COVID-19 have a higher risk of suffering from multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children ( MIS-C), a rare but serious complication in which different parts of the body can become inflamed.

6.- Possible complications

COVID-19 and influenza can cause pneumonia, respiratory failure, fluid in the lungs, sepsis, heart injury, multi-organ failure (respiratory and kidney), worsening of chronic conditions (involving the lungs, heart, nervous system or diabetes), inflammation of the heart, brain and muscle tissues, and secondary bacterial infections, according to the CDC.

Although some people with the flu develop complications, most recover in a few days or less than two weeks, while those who contract COVID-19 can include other associated complications, such as blood clots in the veins and arteries of the lungs, heart , legs or brain and the MIS-C, they conclude. (EFE-Reportajes / PracticaEspañol)

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Comprensión y vocabulario

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Question 1
El texto habla de...  
A
las diferencias que hay entre la vacuna de la gripe y las de la COVID-19.
B
cuáles son los tratamientos que se deben seguir si alguien tiene la gripe o la COVID-19.
C
cuáles son las semejanzas y las diferencias entre la gripe y la COVID-19.
Question 2
En el texto se dice que...  
A
puede haber una pérdida del sentido del olfato no solo con la gripe sino también con la COVID-19.
B
se desmiente que una persona con COVID-19 pueda perder en parte el sentido del olfato o del gusto.
C
no solo puede haber una pérdida del gusto sino también del olfato con la COVID-19.
Question 3
Según el texto...  
A
los síntomas de la gripe tardan más tiempo en aparecen que los de la COVID-19.
B
se descarta por completo que una persona pueda propagar el virus antes de que presente algún síntoma.
C
tanto la gripe como la COVID-19 se propagan a  través de las "gotitas" que están en aire cuando una persona contagiada tose.
Question 4
Ambas pueden causar la inflamación de los tejidos musculares.      
A
Así es.
B
Falso.
C
No se sabe.
Question 5
En el texto se dice que...  
A
los expertos desmienten que los niños pequeños tengan más riesgo de contagiarse de gripe.
B
los expertos indicaron que solo con la gripe puede coagularse la sangre.
C
la COVID-19 es una enfermedad que puede causar neumonía.
Question 6
Una persona "asintomática" es aquella que...  
A
es inmune a cualquier virus.
B
tiene el virus pero no presenta síntomas.
C
presenta síntomas de una enfermedad más rápido de lo normal.
Question 7
"Tuviera" es una forma del...  
A
futuro simple del subjuntivo del verbo "tener".
B
pretérito imperfecto del subjuntivo del verbo "tener".
C
presente del subjuntivo del verbo "tener".
Question 8
Según el vídeo...  
A
las playas de Reino Unido están abarrotadas a pesar de la pandemia.
B
aún ningún niño de Gaza ha vuelto al colegio.
C
cada vez se utiliza menos la bicicleta como medio de transporte.
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