A medical expert explains how to tell if it’s a cold, the flu or COVID-19

Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher discussed the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and the latest FDA restrictions on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

DENVER—
Regarding upper respiratory tract infections, Dr. Ricardo González-Fisher said it becomes difficult to distinguish whether a person has COVID-19, influenza, pneumonia or strep throat, as the conditions have many common symptoms.

González-Fisher is a medical expert with Raza Services and joined 9NEWS+ presenter Chris Bianchi in this week’s segment to discuss the different symptoms of respiratory infections. He also weighed in on the latest FDA restrictions on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Gonzalez-Fisher, here are some of the questions people should ask to help them determine if they have COVID or something else:

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

What is your temperature?

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

However, people should keep in mind that symptoms of COVID-19 take time to appear, so a fever can take a few days to start. People start feeling unwell before they get a fever, he added.

Gonzalez-Fisher stressed that when in doubt, people should get tested.

Are you sore? Are you in pain?

If you have body aches, muscle aches, fatigue, you may be falling into COVID-19, and it’s a good idea to get tested.

How quickly do these symptoms occur?

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

Do you have nausea?

Many people may experience gastrointestinal issues, nausea, and vomiting. They’re not that common in COVID-19, so they must think it might be the flu.

What type of cough do you have?

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

How long have you had the disease?

If the illness only lasted seven days and disappeared, it was probably a cold. The flu, or the flu, lasts just over 10 days, but if it comes on slowly and gradually and increases, then get tested because it could be COVID-19.

How well do the medications you take work?

If you’re taking over-the-counter medications, the ones you usually take when you have a respiratory illness, and it doesn’t go away, then we’re most likely talking about COVID. You need to get tested.

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The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday decided to restrict Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after re-examining data on the risk of life-threatening blood clots.

Restrictions allow use of the J&J vaccine only in people aged 18 or over, who specifically request this vaccine, or who have a formal contraindication to receiving another vaccine. That means they’re allergic to Pfizer or Moderna components, González-Fisher said.

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

“More than 18 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been applied, and what is recorded is 60 cases. Sixty cases out of 18 million vaccines is not a lot, but it is something that happens. Unfortunately , nine people died in these circumstances,” Gonzalez-Fisher said.

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

“It’s something that happens in the first two or three weeks after the vaccine,” he added. “It’s not going to sit there and give you the complication years or months later.”

RELATED: FDA Imposes New Restriction on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

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

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

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

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