Coronavirus Cold and Dry Cough: Is It COVID-19?

Saima Andrabi   by Saima Andrabi, MS, Clinical Biochemistry    Last updated on April 23, 2021,

There is a lot of news around about the novel coronavirus disease and its symptoms. The fear of dying with the disease is creating a panic like situation among people around the globe. The flu season is still in full force, affecting millions of people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is high right now and will continue for few more weeks of March and April.

Here is some information to help you remain vigilant about seasonal flu symptoms, coronavirus symptoms, and understand how the normal flu or common cold differs from coronavirus disease. You can then consider appropriate prevention strategies to protect your health.

What are the Common Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?

According to recent reports from coronavirus affected people, the illness has ranged from mild symptoms to severe condition and even leading to death of the person with confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis.

The following symptoms of coronavirus infection may appear after 2-14 days of exposure with the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Symptoms similar to a flu such as cough, sore throat and tiredness

Coronavirus in Babies

Fact Sheets for Coronavirus Infection Prevention

How Does Common Cold Compare With Coronavirus Cold?

Both the common cold and coronavirus cold or infection are caused by infectious viruses that affect your respiratory tract.

They’re both contagious and spread from one person to another either through direct contact with airborne droplets or by touching a surface that contain the virus. But the common cold often does not cause any complications, but coronavirus can.

COVID-19 can be distinguished from common cold. The coronavirus mainly affects a patient’s lungs and causes certain symptoms as mentioned above. If you feel cold and your nose is runny, you probably don’t have coronavirus. It may be seasonal flu.

Dry Coronavirus Cough

A study of 138 patients infected with the new coronavirus, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on February 7, showed the most common symptoms were fever, fatigue and dry cough.

Almost one-third of the patients reported muscle pain and breathing difficulty. About 10 percent of the patients had atypical symptoms such as diarrhoea and nausea.

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study on January 31 to look at how the coronavirus infection affects the body over time. The study mentions the first case of infection in the United States, a 35-year-old man, showed signs of dry cough, followed by fever.

“COVID-19 appears to show frequent fever, dry cough, and increase of inflammatory cytokines, and induced a mortality rate of 7.5%. Older patients or those with underlying comorbidities are at higher risk of death”, reported a study published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases in this month, March 2020.

When Should You Call an Emergency for Coronavirus Infection?


Some of the emergency and warning signs of COVID-19 that may not usually be present in common cold are:

  • Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
  • Continued pain or a feeling of pressure in the chest
  • Inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

If you notice any of the above warning signs, call the emergency immediately and seek help.

Saima Andrabi

Saima Andrabi is a clinical biochemist and is passionate about driving knowledge platforms for creating health awareness in the general public. She pursued her master’s degree in clinical biochemistry from University of Kashmir, Srinagar followed by an internship from National Institute of pathology, New Delhi. Her areas of interest include molecular biology, immunology, medical physiology and forensic medicine. Saima is very much interested in writing medical content and wants to create awareness in public through this platform.


Currently, Saima Andrabi is working at Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as a research associate and is associated with DiseaseFix as a medical content writer.

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