Do I Have COVID-19 or Another Illness?
When patients attempt to check their symptoms online, they may begin to spiral among the various answers they find. Because it can be difficult to tell your symptoms apart, you should always seek medical attention for diagnosis and treatment.
Our team at Better Faster Urgent Care is here to help you narrow down your symptoms by explaining the differences between COVID-19 and other common ailments.
Common Allergy Symptoms
Allergies are an immune reaction; your immune system is triggered when exposed to an allergen and works to protect your body. Therefore, an allergic reaction can trigger your immune system's multiple reactions, including other conditions such as asthma or eczema.
The following are the most common signs of allergies:
- Runny nose, sneezing, or stuffiness
- Itchy, watery, or red eyes
- Hives on the skin
- Coughing and wheezing
- Difficulty breathing (asthma)
Allergies vs. COVID-19
It’s important to note that patients with allergies do not experience a fever. However, most symptomatic patients with COVID-19 experience a fever at some point during the illness. If you do not experience a fever, this may be a sign that you do not have COVID-19, but you should still seek medical attention to be sure.
Common Cold Symptoms
Many types of viruses can cause a common cold, but rhinoviruses are the most common culprit. Just like the seasonal flu and COVID-19, common colds affect your nose and throat and enter the body through droplets in the air or through direct contact with a person who is sick.
Symptoms of the common cold can vary widely from person to person, but the most common symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Slight body aches
- Mild headache
- Low-grade fever
Common Flu Symptoms
The seasonal flu, caused by influenza viruses, infects your nose, throat, and lungs. It’s important for patients to know that you can spread the flu before you know you are sick, beginning one day before symptoms develop and five to seven days after becoming ill.
Common symptoms of the flu include:
- High fever
- Muscle aches and/or joint pain
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting (most common in children)
The Flu vs. COVID-19
Cases of the seasonal flu typically spike between November and February in the U.S. According to the CDC, you can contract the seasonal flu and COVID-19 at the same time. The influenza virus and the SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 are contagious conditions that can result in serious illness, including hospitalization.
Common COVID-19 Symptoms
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It triggers what doctors call a respiratory tract infection — affecting your upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) and lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs).
After a person is exposed to the novel coronavirus, symptoms can take 2-14 days to appear. However, patients may also be asymptomatic — meaning they have the virus but show no symptoms.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Sudden loss of taste or smell
The following are emergency warning signs of COVID-19 that warrant immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
Most patients find it difficult to determine if they have COVID-19 or the flu, and the best way to tell is to get tested. If you believe that you may have COVID-19, you should seek medical attention immediately.
When Should I Get Tested for COVID-19?
According to the CDC, you should be tested for COVID-19 if you display common symptoms, have had close contact with someone with a confirmed case, or have been asked to be tested by an employer or government official.
COVID-19, Flu, and Allergy Treatment at Better Faster Urgent Care
If you’re still not sure if your condition is simply allergies or a more serious viral infection, visit our urgent care for treatment today. If you believe that you may have come in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and wish to be tested at Better Faster Urgent Care, you can now schedule your visit online.