Is it Allergies, the Flu, or COVID?

The fall season presents a convergence of health concerns for many of us.  This time of year marks the beginning of cold and flu season, but for many it is also the time of year when they experience seasonal allergies.

Determining if you have the flu or are suffering from fall allergies could be a difficult task during most years, but  this year to further complicate matters we are living with the very really threat of COVID-19.

While there are some similarities between the flu, COVID and seasonal allergies, it is important to know that each possess distinct differences as well.

Jamaica Hospital is providing our community with the following information on how to distinguish the differences between the coronavirus, the flu and allergies.

  • Allergies are characterized by coughing and sneezing. Allergy sufferers also experience facial pain, nasal drip and itchy eyes, mouth and skin.  Those who have allergies and also have asthma may experience wheezing as well. Those with seasonal allergies generally do not exhibit fatigue, body aches or fever.
  • The flu shares some of the symptoms associated with allergies, such as coughing and sneezing, but unlike allergies, the flu is also accompanied by head and body aches, fatigue and fever.  Unlike allergies, which present more chronic symptoms that can last for weeks or months, those with the flu typically exhibit symptoms for five to seven days.

  • COVID-19 symptoms can be very similar to that of the flu. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of COVID include: fever and chills, cough, fatigue and muscle or body aches. The most significant difference between COVID and allergies or the flu is shortness of breath, which is a common symptom of the disease.  Other symptoms associated with COVID that are different from allergies or the flu are loss of taste or smell as well as gastrointestinal issues.

Both COVID and the flu are both viruses and mild cases are generally treated similarly with pain and fever medication, such as acetaminophen. Allergies on the other hand are often treated with antihistamines.

If you are a known allergy sufferer you should be aware of when your seasonal allergies typically begin. Additionally, to help minimize the risk of contracting the flu, it is highly recommended that you receive your annual flu shot. If you are experiencing any severe symptoms associated with COVID-19, you should contact your doctor immediately.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.