Articles

COVID, Colds & Allergies: What’s The Difference?

Headaches, sore throats and tiredness are symptoms that seasonal allergy sufferers know well, but when there’s a global pandemic, there is an added layer of concern when it comes to correctly diagnosing symptoms. While there are some similarities between common cold symptoms, symptoms of seasonal allergies, and symptoms of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2), there are also differences in how these conditions present. Here’s what you need to know about how these symptoms and how your specialist can help.

 

How To Tell The Difference Between COVID-19, Cold and Flu, and Seasonal Allergies

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus, which is the same family of viruses that causes the common cold. Because COVID-19 is caused by a new strain of coronavirus, it can cause severe illness in some patients, especially those with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes. 

 

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include symptoms that are commonly associated with other illnesses, so it’s important to know the difference so you can protect yourself and others.

 

Common symptoms are:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

 

These symptoms are occasionally or rarely accompanied by:

  • Tiredness/Fatigue
  • Aches and Pains
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell

 

Cold vs. COVID

The common cold is an annoyance for all of us, but tends to be milder than COVID-19 or seasonal influenza. Symptoms normally onset gradually and usually last for less than 10 days, whereas a flu can come on fast. Headaches, difficulty breathing, and a loss of taste or smell are not commonly cold symptoms, and a cough will usually be mild. Sneezing is not a common symptom of COVID-19 and is an indicator that you may have a cold or seasonal allergies.

 

Common symptoms are:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough (mild)
  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Aches and pains

 

These symptoms are occasionally or rarely accompanied by:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

 

Flu vs. COVID

Seasonal influenza is a common respiratory infection caused by a virus and symptoms generally come on fast. Many of the common and occasional symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, so it is important to talk to your doctor to determine whether you should be tested for the flu and/or COVID-19. Most people with the flu get better without treatment, and getting an annual flu vaccine can help reduce your symptoms if you do get the flu. 

Shortness of breath and loss of taste and/or smell are not symptoms of seasonal influenza. Runny or stuffy nose are not typically symptoms of COVID-19.

 

Common symptoms are:,

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Fatigue
  • Aches and pains

 

These symptoms are occasionally or rarely accompanied by:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

 

Seasonal Allergies vs. COVID

Seasonal allergies can closely mimic a cold, but have some unique symptoms as well, and are the result of an underlying trigger or reaction that a specialist can help resolve to provide lasting relief. 

Where shortness of breath can be a symptom of both seasonal allergies and COVID-19, loss of taste and/or smell and a runny, stuffy nose are not typically symptoms of seasonal allergies. 

 

Common symptoms are:

  • Itchy nose, eyes, throat, ear canals, and sinuses
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Water eyes
  • Shortness of breath

 

These symptoms are occasionally or rarely accompanied by:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches

 

What To Do If You Think You Have COVID-19

If you think you may have COVID-19, stay home, isolate yourself from other household members as much as possible, and call your healthcare provider, who will give you guidance on the best next step to protect yourself, others, and the process of getting tested. The CDC offers guidance on the steps to take when you are sick, including a self-check tool. 

 

Keep In Touch With Your Specialist 

At Family Allergy Asthma Clinic, we know this is a stressful time for everyone, but particularly those who are already struggling with underlying asthma and allergy symptoms. Having a comprehensive treatment plan in place will help your specialist to keep your symptoms under control and your immune system optimized. It also gives your doctor a baseline to work from, so they can best advise you if you begin to develop more severe symptoms and need guidance on seeking COVID-19 testing and treatment. 

It all starts with an accurate diagnosis of the root cause of your allergy and asthma symptoms and a treatment plan for effective, evidence based immunological treatments. Reach out, we’re here to help.

Related Posts

Schedule your Consultation

To book a consultation during business hours, please fill out the form below, and we’ll call you to book your appointment by the end of the business day. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.


    Skin Aesthetics Med SpaSkin HealthAllergiesAsthmaImmune HealthCOVID-19

    Private InsurancePrivate PayMedicare
    In-OfficeTele-Consult

    Connect with Dr. Buddiga