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  • Writer's pictureDr. Riffat Qadir

How To Tell The Difference: Allergies, Cold, Flu, Or COVID-19?

A woman ill in bed

The recent coronavirus shares a lot of symptoms with illnesses like the common cold or the flu, which can make it hard to tell what you may have caught. So, here’s how to tell the difference between these illnesses.


Allergy symptoms tend to relate to the season or environmental exposure. Sneezing, runny/stuffy nose, cough and fatigue commonly occur. Unlike COVID, Fever, aches & pains, sore throat, headaches and shortness of breath generally do not occur. Loss of smell/taste can be due to severe nasal congestion. Treatment is with anti-allergy herbals and medications. Longterm treatment with weekly allergy shots or treatment every 2 months with LDA will control symptoms. If you suffer from allergies and have never heard of LDA, watch our “New Era in Allergy Therapy” Webinar.


Colds come on slowly and generally remain mild. Main symptoms include sneezing, runny/stuffy nose and sore throat.These symptoms are similar to allergy symptoms.There can be a mild cough.Unlike COVID-19, fever, fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath generally do not occur. Loss of smell/taste can be due to severe nasal congestion. Recovery occurs spontaneously. Taking certain vitamins and herbals may prevent colds and help you recover faster. These include vitamins C, D, and Zinc.


The Flu tends to have an abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue, cough and aches & pains.Sometimes there is sore throat and stuffy nose, but loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath are rare which is the main difference between the flu and COVID-19. Recovery is generally spontaneous and only needs rest and supportive care but there are prescription antiviral medications available and vitamins and herbals may help expedite recovery. Some cases of the flu can be severe and life-threatening, especially in people who have serious underlying health problems.


COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus. Four other strains of coronavirus are actually very common and usually cause only mild cold symptoms. COVID-19 can be asymptomatic or cause mild to severe symptoms. People over age of 60 and who have underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or low immunity, are at higher risk of severe infection. Symptoms include: fever, fatigue, dry cough, aches & pains, sore throat, and headaches. These are very similar to the flu, but shortness of breath and loss of smell and taste are much more common with COVID-19. Runny and stuffy nose are rare with COVID-19 infection, and are good indicators that what you have is likely not COVID-19. There are no prescription medications available for COVID-19. Your best option is to optimize your health and immunity and minimize your risk of serious disease. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! For more information on how to optimize your health & immunity and minimize your risk of serious illnesses, watch our “Mystery of Your Immunity” Webinar. Remember: It is always best to consult your doctor about your symptoms so he/she determine the best treatment option for you.This is not medical advice. It is here for your reference.


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