Many Central Florida residents are struggling with all the unknowns surrounding COVID-19. On top of that, the pandemic is taking place during allergy and flu season. 

Every sniffle, cough, or tickle in the throat, has us on edge. Is it the coronavirus, a cold, or allergies?

Harvard Medical School has listed key symptoms to differentiate these ailments.

Symptoms consistent with COVID-19

Key symptoms: The more common and sometimes severe symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Two additional common symptoms are fatigue and loss of appetite. Less commonly, people may have diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Some people report a lack of taste or smell.

A significant number of people experience no symptoms (it’s even possible to have coronavirus and not experience a fever). Usually symptoms appear within five days after exposure, but it can take up to 14 days. 

If you are concerned about your symptoms or they become worse, it is important to be immediately evaluated by your doctor or local hospital. For more information and symptoms see the Harvard Health Coronavirus Resource Center.

Symptoms consisted with allergies

Key symptoms: Two strong indicators that suggest allergies: if you’ve had springtime allergies before, and if itch is a prominent component of your symptoms. People with allergies often have itchy eyes, itchy nose, and sneezing, as well as less specific allergy symptoms such as a runny, congested nose, and a sore throat or cough that is generally due to postnasal drip.

The pollen count here in Central Florida is rising. An allergist can help diagnose seasonal allergies with skin testing.

Symptoms of the flu

Key symptoms: Flu is characterized by fever, chills, muscle aches, and exhaustion. It classically comes on suddenly, as opposed to the gradual onset of the common cold. More mild symptoms can also occur, similar to the common cold, such as runny nose, sore throat, and headache. Vomiting and diarrhea are uncommon in adults, but can happen in children.

Your health care provider can perform a swab test to diagnose the flu. On average the duration of the flu symptoms is about one week. The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the flu.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Orlando Ears, Nose & Throat or your primary doctor.

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