The Nigerian Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire has said it will be difficult to differentiate between common cold and COVID-19 once the harmattan season begins later in the year.
While speaking at the presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, the health minister said it is advisable that anyone experiencing symptoms of flu to use face mask till the status of the person is ascertained.
“It is true that the period during harmattan you get an increase in upper respiratory tract infection, in catarrh, cough and so on,” he said.
“So it may be a challenge to start differentiating between that and COVID-19 but it’s good to get the history and to advise the patient to put on a mask or give them a mask so that whether it is COVID-19 or ordinary influenza virus or any kind of virus, there is the protection of others.
“Then, carry out the normal diagnosis. Usually, the runny nose is a common feature of that common cold infection and a heavy productive cough is part of it (common cold). The COVID-19 generally, but not always generally, is dry cough.
“Clinicians will have to try to find the difference between the two but symptoms can be a little similar.”