Is It a Cold, Flu or COVID-19?

They’re all viral, and they share some symptoms. Here’s help with telling the difference.

Peter Q. Lee, DO
Peter Q. Lee, DO, FACEP

These days, symptoms of an upper respiratory infection runny nose, sneezing, congestion—often trigger worries that they might indicate COVID-19. “Call your primary care doctor and describe your symptoms to know what your next steps should be,” says Peter Q. Lee, DO, FACEP, Associate Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Jersey City Medical Center. “However, if you feel that your symptoms warrant a trip to the ED, by all means, you should come in. Know that it is safe to come here because we’ve taken every precaution for the protection of our patients, visitors, and staff.”

As with any flu season, everyone over the age of 6 months should get the annual flu vaccine, he says, and take precautions: “If we all practice social distancing, wear a mask and wash our hands, the spread of respiratory infection will be considerably limited this season.”

Jersey City Medical Center has Emergency Departments at 355 Grand Street in Jersey City and at RWJBarnabas Health at Bayonne at 519 Broadway. In an emergency, call 911. To learn more, visit our Emergency Department.