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Harri Hemilä

Senior Researcher (Department of Public Health), University of Helsinki

Expertise: Nutrition, Dietetics, Infectious Diseases, Immunology

Time article accurately describes distinguishing features between influenza infection and infection by other respiratory viruses

“Generally accurate. However, the main issue is that influenza viruses can also cause a “cold”, i.e. upper respiratory tract infection. A “cold” is a symptom/diagnosis whereas “influenza” is a virus that can cause symptoms such as a cold. There could be a better distinction by saying there are lots of viruses (flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus (HMPV), rhinovirus, coronavirus, etc.) that cause respiratory infections including ‘colds’ and ‘chest infections’.”