Cold, allergies or coronavirus

Jul 9, 2020


If the list of mild coronavirus symptoms has you pondering “plague vs. pollen,” you’re not alone. The timing of the pandemic has put the common cold and seasonal allergies mixing with coronavirus in our community.

Fortunately, there are some key symptoms that may help you distinguish between common maladies and the new coronavirus

COVID-19 symptoms

More is learned almost daily about the new coronavirus. That means the list of symptoms has expanded. Some key signs include:

  • Fever
  • Cough, especially a dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Chills, shaking with chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea, diarrhea

If you are experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms, we encourage you to call your primary care physician or clinic before arriving.

Symptoms of seasonal allergies

Seasonal allergies cause a lot of misery. Some of the symptoms may sound like COVID-19, but there are some key differences. “Allergy is typically not going to cause fevers or chills,” explains Dr. Melanie Falgout, a family practice doctor Adventist Health’s Sandy clinic. “You will have runny nose and possible cough, and the cough is typically productive.”

Symptoms of allergies include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Cough, usually productive

Common cold symptoms

Meanwhile, there’s the common cold. Cold symptoms are very similar to allergies and include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy head
  • Sore throat from post-nasal drip
  • Fever (rarely)

One of the key ways to tell a cold from allergies is its duration. Cold symptoms usually improve in a few days, while season allergies will last as long as you’re around the allergen(s). Many seasonal allergies last for weeks.

Getting the help you need

You don’t have to guess about your symptoms. Just call your Adventist Health clinic or 503-261-6929 to set up an appointment. We have virtual visits as well as socially distant in-person visits available as soon as today. Our staff will help you decide which option fits best with your needs and symptoms.