COVID or cold? How to tell the difference between diseases | News, sports, jobs

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This chart compares common symptoms of common spring diseases.


It’s that time of year when people start coughing, itching, sneezing and wheezing.

But in today’s world, people may be wondering if they have a seasonal allergy, cold, flu, or COVID-19.

Dr. Laura Anderson, market medical director of MountainStar Healthcare CareNow Utah, said many symptoms can overlap, making it confusing for people to tell the difference.

“Seasonal allergies or allergic rhinitis usually occur when pollen season starts for trees and grass, so spring. How long do allergies typically last? That depends on what exactly someone is allergic to,” Anderson said. few weeks, for others it can take two to three months, and for some unlucky ones there is something in the environment that they are allergic to all year round.”

When it comes to seasonal allergies and hay fever, the most common symptoms are sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy and runny nose, as well as itching in the throat and eyes.

“Itching is highly unlikely with COVID,” Anderson said. “Typically, coughing is absent with allergies unless you have asthma, in which case a cough may be present, but it is usually dry or stuffy. Someone with asthma may also experience wheezing with allergies.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that more than 50 million Americans experience some type of allergy each year. In addition, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic disease in the country. Hay fever affects 5.2 million children and 19.2 million adults.

According to AAFA, 7.7% of adults and 7.2% of children were diagnosed with hay fever in 2018. Many people often have more than one allergy, including trees, grass, weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites, cockroaches, cats, dogs, and rodent dander.

Symptoms of the common cold and COVID-19 overlap too much to distinguish in significant ways, Anderson said. For some people, the COVID symptoms are more severe and include fever, body aches, sore throat, nasal congestion and cough, but it depends on strains and variants.

Influenza can come on quickly, according to the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, and fatigue.

“Loss of smell and taste is a really unique COVID symptom, but most people don’t experience this symptom,” Anderson said. “A COVID test is really the only way to know for sure. There are plenty of free or low-cost rapid COVID tests available that you can purchase from drugstores.

Anderson said once you know what you’re suffering from, you can manage the symptoms with a variety of treatment options. For upper respiratory infections, over-the-counter cough suppressants and nasal decongestants may help. Seasonal allergies can be treated with antihistamines and nasal steroids. COVID can be treated with oral antiviral medications, and wheezing or chest tightness may respond to bronchodilators.

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COVID or cold? How to tell the difference between diseases | News, sports, jobs

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