Allergies, Cold, Flu, or COVID-19: How Can You Tell?

Woman in Mask outside

Diagnosing coughs and sniffles can be tricky. Is it a cold? Flu? Allergies? COVID-19? Joslyn Tapec, ARNP in our Bonney Lake clinic breaks down the different symptoms of coronavirus, flu, cold, and allergies in a simple video to help you determine what is ailing you and how to get better.

Joslyn Tapec, ARNP provides overview of the different symptoms of COVID-19, flu, cold, and allergies.

Overlapping symptoms can make diagnosing cold, flu, COVID-19 and allergies tricky

When you don’t feel well, it’s important to understand why, so you can treat your illness in the most effective way possible. While the symptoms of coronavirus, flu, cold, and allergies are very similar, the treatments, duration of illness and levels of contagion differ greatly.

Can you test me?

The flu and COVID-19 can be diagnosed through a test, but allergies and colds are diagnosed through an exam with your provider. Some of the things your provider may ask you are whether you get the same kind of symptoms every year at the same time, details on your symptoms and questions about your medical history.

What are the symptoms of the common cold?

The flu causes fever and fatigue, but often comes with nasal congestion as well. You can expect a common cold to come with milder symptoms, including a lower fever. A cold also has more upper respiratory involvement, including a cough with green or yellow sputum and nasal congestion.

Could it be COVID-19?

COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, is a lower respiratory infection characterized by a deep, dry cough, a high fever of 103 or 104 degrees and shortness of breath. It does not often come with nasal symptoms but can cause fatigue and body aches. Less common symptoms include nausea and vomiting.

Do I have allergies?

Allergies present differently. Allergies do not typically cause a fever but do cause head and chest congestion. With that can come sinus pressure, plugged ears, coughing, runny nose and sneezing. Allergy sufferers also often report itchy, watery eyes. If you get the same symptoms every year at the same time, or with the change of seasons, it’s a good indication that you’re feeling the impacts of allergies.

Limit germ spread

Because there is so much overlap between colds, flu, viruses and allergies, it is a good idea to practice good handwashing, cover sneezes and coughs and frequently disinfect high contact surfaces. This can prevent you from unintentionally spreading an illness.

For your quick reference, pin this image:

Overview of allergy, cold, flu, and COVID-19 symptoms

We’re here for you

Joslyn Tapec is practicing at our Bonney Lake location and is currently accepting new patients and maternity patients.

Joslyn Tapec, ARNP
Joslyn Tapec, Family Nurse Practitioner

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