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Is it a cold, the flu, or COVID-19?

From Memorial Hospital

Feeling under the weather but unsure what ails you? Common illnesses often can act alike, and as we enter the season of mass gatherings, it’s important to be able to distinguish among a cold, the flu and COVID-19. Read on to learn the sometimes hard-to-miss differences, and be sure to follow tips for safe gathering during the holidays!


The Common Cold is usually mild for most and should run its course quickly. Symptoms include: 

  • Itchy throat 
  • Runny or stuffy nose 
  • Sneezing 
  • Slight fever 



The flu can also be mild, but typically you will feel worse with the flu than with a cold. Symptoms can include: 

  • Sudden fever 
  • Chills 
  • Headache 
  • Body ache 
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny nose 
  • Cough 
  • Lethargy/Tiredness 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • You may even experience stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea 

Your primary care provider can perform a test that identifies the flu virus. Most people who have the flu get better with rest, plenty of fluids and comfort. Sometimes medicine is prescribed to ease symptoms and shorten the illness. 

Memorial offers flu vaccines at walk-in clinics. Learn more by visiting 



COVID-19 symptoms can vary by person, as some can be mild while others have more severe, flu-like symptoms. The most obvious sign of COVID-19 is loss of taste or smell. Symptoms include: 

  • Fever or chills 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache

If you think you may have COVID-19, call (228) 867-5000 to find the nearest testing location. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer the following tips for safely gathering during the holidays: 

• Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination, such as young children, by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated. To find a vaccination location, visit 

• Wear well-fitting masks over your nose and mouth if you are in public indoor settings if you are not fully vaccinated. 

• Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission. Outdoors is safer than indoors. 

• Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. 

• If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. 

• Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19. 

Memorial is a multi-specialty medical complex located in Gulfport. Learn more at 

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