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Can you tell the difference between flu, COVID-19, and RSV?

Posted at 9:40 PM, Oct 31, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With flu season in full swing, RSV cases increasing in Florida, and a new strain of COVID-19 still out there, WPTV is breaking down the impacts of each virus and how to protect yourself.

Florida’s flu review shows cases of emergency room visits are increasing in South Florida, all while RSV has been spreading mostly among children.

And while a new variant of COVID-19 has popped up, Florida hasn’t seen an uptick in cases.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Leslie Diaz said that while the COVID cases remain low, it's hard to tell whether someone has the flu, COVID, or RSV.

"I cannot really say there’s one symptom that kind of predominates to give you a clue to what you’re dealing with as far as the virus is concerned," Diaz said.

That’s because the symptoms of cough, sneezing, and sore throat are common in all three.

The CDC's everyday prevention steps is basically the same for each virus. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or shirt sleeve, wash your hands often with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds, and avoid close contact and clean frequently touched surfaces.

"It's not something you fool with," said Virginia McDaniel.

McDaniel recently got her flu shot. She said for Halloween, she’s letting kids take their own bags of snacks and candy to prevent further spread of any potential viruses.

Doctors said it can be hard to tell the difference between RSV, the flu, and other viruses at first. But there is a simple swab test that can confirm a RSV diagnosis.