COVID-19, flu, cold or seasonal allergies? How to tell the difference between symptoms CTV news
TORONTO — No matter what year it is, fall tends to bring a slew of coughing and sneezing. But in 2020, we don’t just have to wonder whether we’re battling a cold versus seasonal allergies — the slightest cough could bring up fears of COVID-19.
So if you’re feeling under the weather, how do you really know if it is a cold, the flu, seasonal allergies, or a sign that you’ve contracted the novel coronavirus?
Health officials are urging anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or who is concerned they’ve been exposed to the virus to get tested.
While many seasonal ailments have similar symptoms to COVID-19, there are some key differences.
The novel coronavirus is a respiratory illness, so symptoms focus around the lungs. For many patients, a dry cough and fever are the most predominant symptoms.
Other symptoms include fatigue, difficulty breathing, a new loss of taste or smell, aches and pains in the body and a sore throat.
Some patients experience vomiting or diarrhea, but those are less common.
According to the World Health Organization, if you experience severe chest pain, a significant shortness of breath or a loss of speech and movement, these are serious symptoms that need immediate medical attention.
Influenza is also a respiratory illness, so it carries many of the same symptoms of COVID-19. If you think you are coming down with the flu, since some of the symptoms are so similar to COVID-19, “testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Canadian health officials also suggest getting a COVID-19 test.
Some symptoms do differ. Headaches are more associated with the flu, while a new loss of taste or smell is something that would point towards COVID-19.