Making Sense of Your Symptoms: How to Tell the Difference Between Allergies, the Common Cold, the Flu, and COVID19 

With allergy season approaching, influenza season winding down, the ever-present common cold, and the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19), it’s easy to get caught in a state of worry when trying to figure out the source of symptoms you or a loved one may be experiencing. However, you’ve made the right decision to stay calm and do some research before reaching out to your licensed healthcare provider, if necessary. Below is a breakdown of COVID-19 symptoms as they relate to other common ailments. 

COVID-19 Symptoms

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined below then we recommend taking immediate precautionary measures. Self-isolate and contact your healthcare provider. Inform your provider of your symptoms and follow their instructions.

  • Common Symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of appetite or sense of smell
  • Less Common Symptoms:
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting

It is important that you wear a mask when leaving quarantine for your doctor’s appointment and when traveling to and from any tests that they may have prescribed. As soon as you are able, you should reach out to everyone you have been in contact with over the previous two weeks to inform them that you believe you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and that they should self-isolate and seek guidance from their healthcare provider.

It’s important to remember that there is no need to panic. While COVID-19 may sound scary, the truth is that the vast majority of infected people experience mild, manageable symptoms. As we learn more about COVID-19, we hope to slow its spread and learn how to treat the infection. However, the most effective way to manage the virus at the moment is early detection and personal accountability. 

Other Common Symptoms

Although COVID-19 has dominated the news this year, it’s important to remember that it’s also allergy season, the end of flu season, and the common cold is omnipresent. Below are common symptoms that, on their own, do not mean that you have COVID-19:

  • Allergy Symptoms:
    • Itchy Eyes
    • Itchy Nose
    • Sneezing
    • Congestion
  • Flu Symptoms:
    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Achy Muscles
    • Exhaustion
    • Sudden Onset of Severe Symptoms
  • Common Cold Symptoms:
    • Runny Nose
    • Congestion
    • Sore Throat
    • Headache and Fatigue

Remember to use your best judgment when evaluating your symptoms. If the vast majority of your symptoms are not related to COVID-19, but a few are, then you probably don’t have the novel coronavirus. Getting rest, proper nutrition, and self-isolating is still the best of action for every ailment we’ve covered with the exception of allergies. When in doubt, demonstrate caution and reach out to your healthcare provider. 

Yosemite & Precision Pathology Medical Group

Yosemite Pathology Medical Group is a pathology physician group with Board Certified pathologists who provide services to hospitals and outpatient practices in a broad range of specialties in both anatomic and clinical pathology, supplemented by targeted subspecialty training. These comprehensive specialties enable the delivery of solutions that answer the needs of clients, allowing physicians and hospital partners to advance patient care and health management in the communities we serve.