What are the Differences Between Flu A, Flu B, COVID-19 and RSV?
While Flu A, Flu B, COVID-19 and RSV are all respiratory viruses that can exhibit similar symptoms, they are many differences between the viruses and the treatment regimens. Isolating which virus is responsible for the illness can aid in a more rapid recovery.
Influenza A and Influenza B are the viruses that cause the seasonal Flu. While Influenza A is the more common virus, both Influenza A and Influenza B spread easily in the winter months where there is less time spent outdoors and closer person to person contact. Influenza A infects humans and animals, whereas Influenza B only infects humans. Influenza A is usually more severe than Influenza B. Influenza B tends to spread more at the end of the Flu season. Both Influenza A and B can mutate, although Influenza A mutates more often. The mutations of both these strains are why we have a new Flu vaccine every year. The Flu is highly contagious, and a Flu shot is recommended for all every year.
COVID-19 is the official name of the pandemic that began in 2019. This highly contagious respiratory infection is caused by a novel coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 is transmitted through respiratory droplets and contact with contaminated surfaces. Like the Flu, COVID-19 is spread easily with close contact to an infected individual. The actual infection has proved much more fatal than the Flu. COVID-19 is responsible for more than 6 million deaths worldwide since 2019. The COVID-19 vaccine and boosters are highly recommended for all that are eligible.
RSV is a contagious respiratory infections caused by the Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Symptoms in young children and the elderly usually are more severe and mimic the Flu and COVID-19, while symptoms in older children and adults are more like the common cold. Most infections run their course in 7-14 days. Young children and the elderly should be monitored closely if diagnosed with RSV since these demographics are at risk for wheezing and pneumonia. There is currently no vaccine to prevent RSV, but researchers are diligently working to have a safe and effective vaccine.