In the case of influenza, the risk of spreading the disease is usually highest during the first five to seven days after a person develops symptoms. It can also be contagious the day before symptoms. “With a new coronavirus, it is much more difficult to determine the time of infectivity in humans. Humans are contagious even if they have no symptoms. The first signs of COVID-19,” Mikas explained. Patients with a severe course can be contagious for longer.
According to the chief hygienist, COVID-19 can also have the flu at the same time. “One virus even increases the chances of contracting another infectious disease, either viral or bacterial. The weakened organism is more susceptible to other infections.” clarified. The simultaneous treatment can significantly worsen health conditions.
Influenza and COVID-19 are usually not recognizable by their symptoms. Although they are caused by different viruses, the symptoms of the two diseases are largely similar, the chief hygienist explained. Only laboratory research of a patient sample can be conclusive.
The treatment for both diseases is primarily symptomatic, meaning that it consists of relieving the symptoms. Patients can take medications that lower their temperature, relieve a cough, headache and joint pain, or suppress airway inflammation. Even in the case of a mild course of COVID-19 disease and influenza, the Public Health Office of the Slovak Republic strongly recommends staying at home and “curing” the disease.
In more severe cases, antivirals are used for the treatment, that is, drugs that prevent the multiplication of viruses and thus can shorten the duration of the infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral diseases such as influenza and COVID-19. It is important to use them when a bacterial infection is associated with a viral disease.
If signs of respiratory illness occur, isolate from others and contact your doctor by phone first. In an emergency, call 155 directly and let the dispatcher know you may have COVID-19.