Cold, Flu, Allergies and COVID

As we move deeper into allergy, cold, and flu season, we ask you to be aware of your health, monitor symptoms, and take precautions to stay healthy. These illnesses haven’t been very prevalent in the past year or so because of the layers of COVID-19 precautions. However, we are starting to see them return.

COVID-19, ALLERGY, FLU AND COLD SYMPTOMS

COVID-19, allergies, flu and cold symptoms can seem very similar, and it can be difficult to know the difference. Consider this chart, adopted from the Mayo Clinic, as a guide to help you identify what symptoms pertain to what illnesses.

SYMPTOM OR SIGN COVID-19 COLD FLU ALLERGY

Cough

Usually (dry)

Usually

Usually

Sometimes

Muscle aches

Usually

Sometimes

Usually

Never

Tiredness

Usually

Sometimes

Usually

Sometimes

Sneezing

Rarely

Sometimes

Never

Usually

Sore throat

Usually

Usually

Usually

Rarely

Runny or stuffy nose

Usually

Usually

Usually

Usually

Fever

Usually

Sometimes

Usually

Never

Diarrhea

Sometimes

Never

Sometimes (more common in children)

Never

Nausea or vomiting

Sometimes

Never

Sometimes (more common in children)

Never

New loss of taste or smell

Usually

Sometimes (especially with a stuffy nose)

Rarely

Sometimes

Itchy nose, eyes, mouth, or inner ear

Rarely

Never

Never

Usually

Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

Sometimes

Never

Never

Sometimes

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Usually

Rarely

Usually

Sometimes

*scale rankings - usually, sometimes, rarely, never

BASIC PRECAUTIONS

While colds, flu, allergies, and COVID-19 may be treated differently, the same basic precautions can help keep you healthy. Consider the following safety measures:

  1. Get vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu

  2. Wash your hands frequently

  3. Avoid touching your face

  4. Stay away from crowds and people who are sick

  5. Practice social distancing

  6. Wear a mask to protect yourself and others

WHEN TO TEST

If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, you should get tested. Students, when you contact the Health Center, they’ll help you decide whether you should test for COVID-19. If you’re exhibiting symptoms and waiting for a COVID-19 test result, you should self-quarantine, which means stay home and limit your exposure to others until the test has been returned.