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How to Tell the Difference: COVID-19, Cold, Flu, Allergies

How to Tell the Difference: COVID-19, Cold, Flu, Allergies

Feeling Unsure of What You Have? Here’s How to Tell the Difference

With the start of spring and fluctuations in temperature, many people have been suffering from allergies and catching a cold or the flu. Unfortunately, coronavirus has been spreading throughout the globe almost around the same time period, making it even more confusing for many of us to tell the difference between the symptoms. 

Today, we will be sharing some information about key differences in symptoms and conditions for coronavirus, a cold, the flu, and allergies. After reading the content, we hope that you are more aware of the differences and take the precautionary steps in the coming days.  


Here are some of the key differences you should be aware of:

  • If you are experiencing stuffy and runny nose, and sneezing, you likely do not have coronavirus as these symptoms rarely appear.
  • In addition, allergies do not show symptoms of fever, general body aches and pains, extreme exhaustion, sore throat, or diarrhea, whereas, coronavirus will sometimes show these symptoms with sore throat being a rare case. 
  • Coronavirus and the flu will be accompanied by high fever usually measured at 100 F or higher for coronavirus vs. 100-102 F for the flu lasting 3-4 days.
  • An overlapping symptom between coronavirus and the flu is that diarrhea may sometimes be accompanied. However, for the flu, it is likely to appear for children.
  • Shortness of breath will appear for coronavirus in more serious infections. Keep in mind, this can commonly appear in allergies as well. 
  • Body aches and pains, fatigue and weakness, and cough will be often severe and common for the flu. 
  • The flu will cause intense headaches, which may be rare for a cold but sometimes be visible for coronavirus and allergies. 
  • Also, extreme exhaustion will commonly appear for the flu, usually starting early, whereas it will sometimes appear, progressing slowly for coronavirus, and never appear for a cold or allergies.

Below are some facts on complications that could potentially occur from each followed by preventions and occurrence information. 



  • Pneumonia in both lungs
  • Organ failure in several organs
  • Death


  • Sinus congestion
  • Earache


  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Can be life-threatening


  • Asthma
  • Ear infection
  • Sinusitis 
  • Bronchitis 
  • Nasal polyps




  • Avoid large events & mass gatherings
  • Avoid close contact (6ft)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces you often touch on a daily basis
  • Stay home 
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat or animal organs


  • None


  • Annual vaccination
  • Antiviral drugs


  • Controlling environment




  • Not enough information


  • 3-4 times yearly


  • Once yearly


  • Seasonally/Repeatedly

Message from Fortes Health:

After reading this blog, we hope that you are well aware of the possible symptoms that may appear in coronavirus, a cold, the flu, and allergies and feel confident in taking preventive actions necessary to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Be sure to know your conditions and symptoms before you take the medicine and if you think you have the symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical help immediately.

At times like this, it is easy to feel lonely, afraid, and worried. We hope that this COVID-19 pandemic does not impact your positivity into thinking this way, but rather, serves as an opportunity for you and all of us to pause for a moment and appreciate all the small little things we took for granted in life. Continue to stay strong, positive, and healthy! Let's do our part right by washing our hands frequently, social distancing, and staying home to slow down the spread. Most importantly, let's not forget to be thankful for what we have, show some love to our family and friends, and be kind to those around us.

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