Health

How does COVID-19 compare to the flu and pneumonia?

Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher discussed the symptoms of respiratory tract infections and the restrictions placed on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

DENVER — When it comes to upper respiratory infections, Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher said it becomes difficult to distinguish whether a person has COVID-19, the flu, pneumonia or strep throat because the illnesses have many symptoms in common.

González-Fisher is a medical expert from Breed Services and joined 9NEWS+ host Chris Bianchi in this week’s segment to talk about the different symptoms of respiratory infections. He also discussed the latest FDA restrictions on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

According to González-Fisher, these are some of the questions that people should ask themselves to find out if they have COVID or something else:

Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited for clarity.

What is your temperature?

González-Fisher said that strep throat, influenza, pneumonia and COVID-19 are infections that cause fever. A common cold does not usually cause a fever. So if there is no fever, he said the person is most likely experiencing a common cold.

However, people should keep in mind that symptoms of COVID-19 take time to appear, so it may take a few days for a fever to start. People start feeling sick before they have a fever, she added.

González-Fisher stressed that if there is any doubt, people should get tested.

How much is your body aching?

If you have body aches, muscle pain, fatigue, you may be infected with COVID-19 and it’s a great idea to get tested.

How fast are those symptoms coming?


If people were fine yesterday and today they feel like they’ve been hit by a train, it’s most likely not COVID-19. It is some other infection because the symptoms of COVID appear slowly and gradually.

Do you have nausea?


Many people may have gastrointestinal problems, nausea and vomiting. They’re not as common with COVID-19, so they have to think maybe it’s the flu.

What kind of cough do you have?

People who have strep, pneumonia, or the flu have a productive cough and produce phlegm, while people who have COVID-19 tend to have a dry cough. People should remember that if they have had a dry cough for many days, which turns into a productive cough, they may have a secondary infection, which is pneumonia, and maybe they need to be tested for COVID.

How long have you had the disease?

If the illness lasted only seven days and disappeared, it was probably a common cold. Influenza, or the flu, lasts a little over 10 days, but if it has been coming on slowly and on the rise, then get tested because it could be COVID-19.

How well are the medications you take working?


If you take medications from the pharmacy, the ones you usually take when you have a respiratory illness and it doesn’t go away, then we are most likely talking about COVID. You have to get tested.

RELATED: US out of ‘pandemic phase’: Expert discusses what Fauci’s announcement means for Colorado

On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration decided restrict Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after taking another look at the data on the risk of life-threatening blood clots.

The restrictions allow the use of the J&J vaccine only in persons who are 18 years of age or older, who specifically request this vaccine, or who have a formal contraindication to receiving another vaccine. Which means they are allergic to Pfizer or Moderna components, Gonzalez-Fisher said.

RELATED: FDA imposes new restriction on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine

According to González-Fisher, the risk of complications from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine “is very low, but very severe.”

“More than 18 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been applied, and what is recorded is 60 cases. Sixty cases in 18 million vaccines is not many but it is something that happens. Unfortunately, there are nine people who have died from this circumstance,” González-Fisher said.

González-Fisher noted that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will not develop complications in the future.

“That is something that happens in the first two or three weeks after the vaccine,” he added. “She’s not going to stay there and then give her the complication years or months later.”

Breed Servicesthe state’s largest nonprofit serving Latinos, will continue to offer its vaccination clinic every Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the organization, which is located at 3131 W. 14th Ave.

RELATED: Servicios de la Raza will host a vaccination clinic against COVID-19 at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

On Thursday and Friday mornings, they will also hold mobile clinics at the Mexican Consulate located at 5350 Leetsdale Dr. #100. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

No appointments are necessary and no form of identification, social security number or medical insurance is required.

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