Not Sure You Have COVID-19? Here Are the Symptoms for COVID-19, Flu, and Allergies

It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the coronavirus if you have itchy eyes or a runny nose.

If you experience a fever, fatigue, or a cough, COVID-19 may be a possibility.

It could also be seasonal flu.

“Not all symptoms are the same.” While it might seem like you have coronavirus, you may simply be experiencing seasonal allergies or influenza,” Lindsey Elmore, PharmD, a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist and host of “The Lindsey Elmore Show,” told Healthline.


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Also, visit our coronavirus hub for more information on how to prepare, advice on prevention and treatment, and expert recommendations.

“There are many symptoms of cold, flu, and COVID that are similar, and it may be difficult to distinguish,” added Ramzi Yacoub, PharmD, chief pharmacy officer of the prescription savings service Single Care. They are all caused by viruses. However, each virus causes different infections.

Yacoub explained to Healthline that shortness of breath is a sign of COVID-19. “Shortness is a sign of COVID-19 and it can occur before the development of pneumonia.

Yacoub stated that the flu or a cold generally doesn’t cause shortness-of-breath unless it progresses to pneumonia. In which case, you will need to contact your healthcare provider.

Dr. Subinoy Das is the chief medical officer of Tivic Health. He said that the common cold does not cause shortness in breath, even if fever develops.

Healthline reported that although Influenza closely resembles COVID-19, the shortness in breath is usually not as severe as with COVID-19.

COVID-19 often causes shortness of breath 5-10 days after the first signs of fever, Das observed.

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Health officials are expressing concerns about new variants Trusted Source of the coronavirus. There are currently four major new strains.

In March 2021, the first detection of the delta variant in the United States was made. Although this variant is more contagious than the others, it can cause severe symptoms and may be fatal. However, vaccinated people are highly protected against it.

Other variants of COVID-19 may have different symptoms from the new delta variant. It can cause headaches, sore throats, and runny nostrils.

These symptoms are often associated with the common flu and were not associated with COVID-19 earlier.

Here are some common symptoms of COVID-19: The flu, colds, and allergies.

Sneezing doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem

Common symptoms of the common cold include a runny nose and facial pain.

They’re not a typical COVID-19 example.

“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source. Some patients may experience aches and pains, nose congestion, runny or sore throats.

“Nasal congestion was only seen in 1/20 of the patients in a Chinese report of over 1,000 patients,” Dr. Kristine S. Arthur is an internist at MemorialCare Medical Group, Laguna Woods, California. Kristine spoke to Healthline.

COVID-19 symptoms usually appear 2 to 14 days after exposure — a window that can be wider than is typical for the flu, which usually presents symptoms within 1 to 4 days of transmission.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists Trusted Source 11 primary symptoms of COVID-19:

COVID-19 can cause symptoms but not necessarily unwell. These people can transmit COVID-19 virus to others, regardless of whether or not they feel well.

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COVID-19 is a severe illness that can be compared to the common cold or flu. It causes people to feel fine until their symptoms begin to manifest.

Dr. Cutler said that allergies are often chronic and present with symptoms for weeks, months or even years. David M. Cutler is a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center Santa Monica, California. He spoke to Healthline.

Arthur stated that allergies should not cause fevers or body aches. “If you have lots of nasal drainage, there is generally no cough.”

She said that allergies can also cause wheezing in asthma patients.

Cutler stated that allergy symptoms can vary depending on the environment. For example, they may worsen if exposed to dust, pollen or animal dander. Cold symptoms, however, tend to persist regardless if it is day or night.

Cutler also stated that colds, like COVID-19’s, are more likely have generalized symptoms such as fever, headache, or body aches. While allergies typically affect the respiratory tract, Cutler noted. Antihistamines and allergy-specific medications tend to help with allergy symptoms. Decongestants, fluids and acetaminophen are more effective for colds.

The CDC issued guidanceTrusted Source on the differences in symptoms between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies.

According to the agency, symptoms such as sore throat, shortness of breath and coughing can all be signs of COVID-19.

Most allergies are characterized by itchy eyes and sneezing.

COVID-19 is not associated with allergies.

It’s not flu, despite the symptoms

COVID-19 does not cause the flu

It is actually closer to the seasonal flu than it is to the common cold, as it belongs to a group of pathogens called coronaviruses.

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Although there are some similarities, COVID-19 symptoms are more like the flu (fever and sore throat), cough, sore or stuffy nasal, muscle or body pains, headaches, fatigue, and muscle or body aches).

The new delta variant of COVID-19, however, may have more cold-like symptoms.

Dr. Jake Deutsch is the co-founder and medical director of Cure Urgent Care and Specialty Infusion New York. “That is why flu shots are highly recommended for everyone. It can reduce the flu risk, at minimum, in comparison to everything else.

“Fevers and body aches, coughing, and sneezing can all be attributed equally to them both. This really means that there’s an issue with COVID-19 if there’s concern for flu.” Deutsch stated.

Cutler said that if you have mild COVID-19 symptoms or are suffering from a cold, you can get treatment to manage your symptoms.

He said that acetaminophen is generally recommended for fevers. To keep mucus secretions from getting too thick, cough drops and cough syrups are also useful. Antihistamines might be helpful if there is nasal congestion.

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