Cold, Flu, or COVID-19?

If you sneeze or have a runny nose, should you worry? As it turns out, no. Most likely you’ve got a cold. No fever? Definitely not coronavirus or the flu. Use this chart to help distinguish between these three viruses.

If you think you or someone you care for has the coronavirus, check with your doctor or contact your local health department (find your local health department website at People at risk for a serious case—older adults and/or those with heart disease, diabetes, or lung conditions—should be evaluated early, even if symptoms are mild.

Cleaning and disinfecting

The coronavirus appears to be able to live on surfaces for several hours to several days. Fortunately, we can do a tremendous amount to stay safe, even if a household member is sick. Here are tips for protecting yourselves.

  • Cleaning removes germs and dirt from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs. By removing them, however, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Use standard household cleaners, detergent, or soap and water.
  • Disinfecting uses chemicals that kill germs. It doesn’t clean a surface. But by killing the few germs left after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Get a list of Covid-19 approved disinfectants at Follow all label instructions.

Make your own disinfectant. If you have bleach that has not yet expired, mix 4 teaspoons with a quart of water. Wear gloves and use in a well-ventilated room. Make a new batch daily. It loses potency after 24 hours.

Focus on high-touch surfaces: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, counters.

Clean and disinfect daily. Even if no one is sick right now, it will protect everyone in the house from new germs that may have entered from trips outside or home deliveries.

  • If a member of the household is sick, he or she should remain in one room with a bathroom for their sole use. Clean their specific room and bathroom on an as-needed basis. Encourage the ill person to do the cleaning. Give them a supply of tissues, paper towels, cleaners, and disinfectants.
  • If a bathroom is shared with a sick individual, then cleaning and disinfecting must occur after each use by the ill person.

Use disposable gloves while cleaning and disinfecting. Remove and put them in a lined trash container when done. Then wash your hands with soap and water. If you only have reusable gloves, dedicate a pair for surface cleaning. Wash your hands whenever you touch or remove them.

Call 911 if you observe these urgent symptoms: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new mental confusion, inability to stay alert, and/or bluish lips or face.

In an effort to keep up with this ever-changing situation, we have listed below the links to find the latest information from the District of Columbia, Montgomery County & Prince George’s County and the State of Maryland on vaccination schedules, and FAQ regarding the vaccine:

For more information about mRNA research and the COVID-19 vaccine: