Is it COVID-19, flu, cold or allergies? What is causing you to feel sick this year

Winter is approaching, and with it come sniffles and that general ill feeling associated with allergies, colds and the flu. This year, though, all you keep hearing about is the coronavirus pandemic.

So how can you tell if the way you’re feeling is due to the common cold, the flu or COVID-19?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all three illnesses have some common symptoms, including:

  • Fever or feeling feverish and chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle pains, body aches
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Coronavirus could bring with it a change in or loss of taste or smell, the CDC said.

Colds have similar symptoms as the flu but rarely have fever, headaches or aches and pains, the CDC said.

With the flu, you can get symptoms 1 to 4 days after infection. With COVID-19, symptoms could appear from 2 to 14 days after infection with most cases appearing within 5 days, the CDC said.

Atrium Health has a chart not only listing the signs and symptoms of coronavirus and the flu, but also comparing the symptoms of those with colds and allergies.

Health experts are warning Americans that this year, more than ever, getting the flu shot will be important as they try to prevent a twin-demic, WTOP reported.

“Flu itself is a significant public health burden on the system every year,” virus expert Dr. Andrew Pekosz said this week.

The CDC agrees that it will be important to get the flu vaccine, saying that anyone over the age of 6 months old should get one earlier rather than later and before the flu starts to spread in the community, Oregon Live reported.

The CDC says it takes about two weeks to get the antibodies to build up after you get the vaccine.

For more on who should get a flu vaccine and when it should be given, click here.

Comments on this article