During this time of year it can be difficult to distinguish between having just a cold or seasonal allergies. With the fears of COVID-19, this dilemma becomes even more important, and can be quite frightening with the wrong information. Let’s unpack the symptoms of just a cold, seasonal allergies or COVID-19, and when to be concerned.
Similar Symptoms That Overlap
A fever, coughing, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, plus trouble breathing can mean a number of ailments. So, which is it? Let’s not forget the normal flu can still be present in parts of the country making it even more confusing.
Let’s begin with COVID to alleviate any unnecessary fears. The World Health Organization found 88% of COVID-19 cases had a fever and 65% had dry cough.
In addition, other common symptoms of the virus include shortness of breath, trouble breathing, diarrhea, fatigue and aches plus a sore throat.
It is rare to have a fever and diarrhea with either a cold or seasonal allergies.
Colds and Seasonal Allergies Differences
Without the presence of fever or trouble breathing, you are most likely dealing with the common cold or those pesky seasonal allergies. As for other symptoms like sneezing, it can be associated with both allergies and a cold. There are other ways to tell the difference.
A cold will not give you itchy eyes. As for coughing, it is most likely from a cold rather than allergies. The only exception is if you also suffer from allergic asthma. If you do have asthma, be sure to maintain your treatment regimen of nasal sprays and inhalers. Many pharmacies are delivering medications and other necessities right now, so you don’t have to travel out during the pandemic.
Be aware that anyone with respiratory problems like asthma are at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID.
Although allergies are sometimes referred to as “hay fever,” they do not give you a fever.
The Big Picture
You can actually have allergies and COVID at the same time. If you have a fever of 100.4 or higher and experiencing shortness of breath and trouble breathing, call your primary care provider at La Grande Family Medicine.
Remember COVID exhibits some of the same symptoms as the flu with fever and cough, and it’s possible to have the condition without all the symptoms. If you are feeling sick, don’t panic.
Use this symptom chart for reference as we go through both a pandemic and allergy season.
Contact La Grande Family Medicine if you are unsure about any of your symptoms.