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Allergies, Cold, Flu or COVID-19 Virus?

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This information has been reviewed and approved by Lisa Maier, MD and Rosine Angbanzan, MPH (February 2022)

Allergies, Cold, Flu or COVID-19 Virus?

Here's how to tell the difference between allergy symptoms and the novel 2019 Coronavirus.

Symptoms beginGraduallyGraduallyAbruptlyWithin 14 days of exposure
Symptoms lastAllergy season4 - 10 days5 - 7 daysVaries by person
Body achesSometimes
ChillsLess commonSometimes
Dry cough
Exposure to germs
FeverLess common
HeadachesLess commonSometimes
Itchy eyes
Nasal congestionLess common
New loss of taste or smellSometimesSometimesSometimes
Repeated shaking with chillsSometimesSometimesSometimes
Runny noseLess common
Sore throatSometimesSometimes
Shortness of breathSometimesLess common
Symptoms get worse

Symptoms may differ with each new COVID variant. Talk to your doctor for additional information and review the CDC’s variant updates here. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

Think You Have COVID-19?

  • Stay home and away from others.
  • Monitor symptoms.
  • Rest.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash hands with soap and water often.
  • Treat symptoms.
  • Contact your doctor if you have a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or existing chronic disease.

The information on our website is medically reviewed and accurate at the time of publication. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, information may have since changed. and your state’s health department may offer additional guidance.


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