Covid-19, a Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?

Covid-19, a Cold, or Seasonal Allergies?

As we hurdle toward the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, you have probably wondered at some point whether your symptoms were COVID-19, influenza, a cold, or maybe seasonal allergies. All four conditions have overlapping symptoms, so it makes sense to be unable to tell. 

We’ve taken precautions such as requiring face masks at Apex Medical Center to keep our employees and our patients safe. However, with the high transmissibility rate of some of the COVID variants, many people who are cautious still contract the virus. In this post our experts offer a few tips to help you know whether you have COVID, the flu, a cold, or allergies.  

Overlapping symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, a common cold and allergies

First, let’s talk about the symptoms the four conditions share. There are several symptoms that can occur in COVID-19, influenza, a cold, or with seasonal allergies. For example, a stuffy, runny nose can be a symptom of all four

Other symptoms that can happen in all four instances are sneezing, though it’s more rare with COVID-19, and coughing. Chest discomfort can also occur in each of the conditions, but is more rare in seasonal allergies. 

So, you’re stuffy, sneezing, and coughing. What could it be? 

Seasonal allergies

It’s probably easiest to differentiate between seasonal allergies and the other three. Seasonal allergies don’t cause a fever, so if you have a fever, you probably aren’t suffering allergies. 

Similarly, extreme exhaustion isn’t a symptom associated with allergies. You’re also not going to have general aches and pains with allergies. 

It’s possible, but highly unlikely, that allergies will cause a loss of taste or smell. 

Influenza and COVID-19

Most everyone is familiar with symptoms of the flu, and in large part they’re similar to symptoms associated with COVID-19. However, one difference is that it’s unusual to have a loss of taste or smell with influenza, though it is possible. 

Here are the symptoms that the flu and COVID-19 both present: 

Since the two conditions share so many symptoms, what should you do if you have them? First, we recommend getting tested. Tests for COVID are usually available. In Las Vegas, drive-thru testing is available at some Walgreens locations and the Southern Nevada Health District maintains a list of locations and times testing is available at other locations. 

We can perform flu testing in our office, so if your COVID-19 test is negative, that’s a good next step. 

The common cold

One of the main differences between a cold and either the flu or COVID-19 is the lack of a fever with a cold. It’s rare to have a fever when you have a cold. Additionally, you’re unlikely to experience extreme exhaustion or loss of taste and smell with a cold. 

You may, though, have slight aches and pains, a sore throat, a cough, and mild to moderate chest discomfort. 


The best treatment depends on the cause of your symptoms. If over-the-counter allergy medication isn’t helping, or you can’t take it due to other medications, we may be able to offer alternatives. 

For COVID-19, the flu, and a common cold, there are a few things you should do: 

For COVID-19 there are a few things that signal the need for emergency care, including: 

Both COVID-19 and the flu are highly contagious respiratory conditions that can become serious. It’s important to monitor your symptoms, isolate yourself from others in your household, and to clean your hands and surfaces often and carefully. 

If you have questions, call one of our three offices. We’re happy to provide further guidance, based on your specific situation. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

3 Eating Disorders and How They Are Treated

Although most people have heard the phrase “eating disorder,” not as many understand what an eating disorder is, how it’s diagnosed, or what kinds of treatments are available. In this post we discuss the three most common eating disorders.

How Hormones Can Trigger a Migraine

One of the reasons more women than men have migraine headaches is that hormonal fluctuations can trigger migraine. If you suspect your hormones could be causing your migraine attacks, this post is for you.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Whiplash?

There’s a reason bad things are described as being a “pain in the neck.” When your neck hurts, even turning your head when someone says your name is difficult. Whiplash is a particular kind of neck pain that may last longer than you expect.

Most People Don’t Know This About Depression

Depression is a common mental health issue, but there’s much more to it than you may realize. It affects your mood and may interfere with your ability to concentrate, but did you know depression can also affect your physical health?

Myths and Facts About Group Counseling

The idea of group therapy can be scary, but that’s partly due to misconceptions and common myths about what it is and how it works. In this post we present some of those myths, along with some facts about group counseling you may not know.

Joint Health Tips You Can Start Using Today

You probably don’t spend much time thinking about your joints — until they start to hurt. Then, you may start considering how to protect them! Here are some of our best tips for preserving your joint health.