Spotting the difference between influenza and coronavirus

As coronavirus continues to spread around the Delaware Valley and worldwide, it is important to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of the virus. Dr. Jen Caudle joined Good Day Weekend on Sunday to elaborate on new information from the World Health Organization.

Dr. Caudle, a family physician and associate professor at Rowan University, says health officials believe the type of cough a patient is experiencing could be a good indicator of their illness. Citing research released by the World Health Organization, Dr. Caudle says a dry cough is frequently found in COVID-19 cases. 

Dr. Caudle says a dry cough is just that -- dry -- there is no phlegm or mucus present that is typically found in a wet cough. Additionally, Dr. Caudle says wet coughs are accompanied by "rattling" or "wheezing."

Of course, Dr. Caudle stressed that a dry cough is merely a common symptom of the coronavirus. Just because someone has a dry cough does not mean they have the coronavirus. Likewise, people with wet coughs could still be symptomatic for COVID-19.

While a fever remains the most common symptom of the virus, according to the World Health Organization more that 67% of patients experience a dry cough. 


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"We know cases are increasing, and remember, just because you have any of these symptoms doesn't mean it's coronavirus," Dr. Caudle said.

If you are afraid you may be symptomatic of COVID-19, Dr. Caudle says the best thing to do is contact a doctor or medical professional. Do not go directly to a doctor's office or emergency room and potentially infect others should you have the illness.

Many practices, according to Dr. Caudle, are evaluating the benefits of 'telemedicine,' where a patient can video chat with a medical professional. 

Perhaps just as important as knowing the symptoms of COVID-19, knowing accurate information about the virus is also paramount. Dr. Caudle says many non-factual home remedies and suggestions on how to ward off the coronavirus have circulated on the internet.

"The CDC and the WHO information do not just believe some person down the street or some random blog with no certifications," Dr. Caudle said.

The best thing anyone who feels they may be symptomatic of the coronavirus can do it reach out to a doctor. You can submit your questions on COVID-19 to Dr. Caudle on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook


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