COVID-19, a Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?

Jan 11, 2023
COVID-19, a Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?
When you have a cough, how do you know whether it's a cold or COVID-19? Further complicating things, allergies also cause these symptoms. Take a few moments to discover the differences between seasonal allergies, a cold, and COVID-19.

Cold symptoms have triggered a fear of COVID-19 for two years because of the many similarities between the two. To make things even more confusing, allergy symptoms are also part of the COVID-19 symptom list.

So how do you know if you're dealing with a cold, seasonal allergies, or the dreaded COVID-19?

If you have problematic symptoms and need fast and efficient COVID-19 testing, the team at Prudent Medical Providers can help. Our family medical practice consists of three experienced nurse practitioners who help you get to the bottom of your symptoms for the appropriate treatment route.

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease that leads to various symptoms. The SARS-CoV-2 viral strain causes the disease. You contract it when you're in close contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

The virus spreads through the air via respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. COVID-19 is transmitted by simply talking with or breathing the same air as someone with the illness.

Over the past two years, COVID-19 has mutated into various strains that affect each person differently. Some people have common cold symptoms, while others end up in the hospital with severe trouble breathing.

You must understand the difference between COVID-19 symptoms and the common cold or seasonal allergies, as it's a much more severe illness than the other two.

The difference between COVID-19 and a cold

The main difference between the common cold and COVID-19 is the virus that causes your symptoms. As mentioned, COVID-19 comes from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, while rhinoviruses often cause colds.

The viruses lead to similar symptoms, although a few set COVID-19 apart. For example, if you have COVID-19, you're more likely to have a fever and experience extreme fatigue.

The common cold symptoms include a cough, sore throat, and a stuffy or runny nose. All of these are also symptoms of COVID-19.

If you have COVID-19, you may also have a headache, a diminished sense of taste or smell, and vomiting or diarrhea. These aren't common symptoms with a cold.

Seasonal allergies vs. COVID-19

To make diagnosing yourself even more complicated, seasonal allergies also have symptoms similar to the common cold and COVID-19. If you're prone to seasonal allergies, it's a good idea to figure out your usual symptoms versus those of COVID-19.

Seasonal allergies can strike any time, but they’re more common in the spring and fall when flowers bloom or the leaves fall. Allergies aren't caused by a virus but by allergens like pollen in the air that you inhale.

Several common symptoms are associated with seasonal allergies, including:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion

While some of these are also symptoms of COVID-19, it's not common for you to have a fever, headache, or cough with seasonal allergies. These are also related to COVID-19, along with muscle aches and nausea or diarrhea.

If you're experiencing symptoms that leave you unsure of their cause, let us evaluate you and your symptoms. If we suspect COVID-19, we perform a COVID-19 test to ensure you get the proper diagnosis and treatment for your condition.

If you need COVID-19 testing, call Prudent Medical Providers at our convenient locations in Federal Way and Tacoma, Washington. You may also visit our website and use the appointments button to set up a visit, or send the team a message.