As you may have heard in the news for the past couple of weeks, the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect people around the globe. In times like these, we must remain calm, be rational, and do our best in being aware of the symptoms and methods of prevention.
While much of the virus’ symptoms may seem like something more common like allergies or the flu, your local McAllen ENT Dr. Frank R. Glatz, his certified physician assistant Jonathan Lerma, and the skilled team of sinus relief specialists at the Glatz Group are here to help crack down the facts regarding this virus.
Symptoms of COVID-19 Vs. Allergy or Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of the coronavirus should not be confused with those of allergies or the flu. While we cannot stress enough that the public must make note of any possible signs of coronavirus, however, similar symptoms can result in confusion about what may be the primary illness. Here’s how you can differentiate between allergies, the flu, or the virus.
1. Allergy Symptoms
The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology states that symptoms of allergies include, but are not limited to:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Constant sneezing
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
2. Flu Symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that influenza (flu) may lead to mild to severe illness and, at times, can cause death to those who come across it. Symptoms of the flu involve:
- Fever, or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more typical in youth)
3. COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Symptoms
The CDC lists the following as symptoms of COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- Can occur 2-14 days upon exposure
The World Health Organization (WHO) also mentions the following in their list of COVID-19 symptoms:
- Dry cough
- Aches and pains
- Nasal congestion
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Other Key Differences Between the Virus and Other Illnesses
- Coronavirus and flu symptoms can be more systemic.
The flu and the coronavirus can impact other systems along the upper and lower respiratory tract. If your nose isn’t runny but you notice a sore throat, a cough, a fever, or shortness of breath, that is how you can guess if what you have is related to the symptoms presented by the flu or COVID-19.
Keep an eye on your temperature, as it’s highly unlikely that allergies would lead to a fever. They oftentimes don’t create a shortness of breath either, unless you’ve got a preexisting condition such as asthma.
- Allergy symptoms can happen on a regular basis.
If you encountered the same symptoms at the same time every year, you’re more than likely dealing with seasonal allergies. If that’s the case, we can provide you with the right medication as well as other usual treatment options like a balloon sinuplasty to help you feel better.
- Coronavirus and flu symptoms can physically drain you.
If you catch the flu or the coronavirus, you’ll feel extremely exhausted and achy, so much so that getting out of bed could feel nearly impossible. Allergies can cause your tiredness, but they won’t make your muscles or joints ache.
- Cold and mild flu symptoms tend to simmer down over time.
With regular illnesses, you can expect to feel better with adequate rest and care within a matter of days, unless you’re elderly or face any underlying health issues where even less severe illnesses can take more time to overcome.
- Coronavirus and flu symptoms can worsen as time goes on.
If you have a bad case of the flu or coronavirus, you might get worse when you’re anticipating to get over it. That is when you should seek medical care if you haven’t already. The main cause for concern of COVID-19 would be if you felt a shortness of breath. Individuals can also get pneumonia from the flu, so either way, your best interest is to receive medical attention immediately.
- Early symptoms of allergies, cold, flu, and coronavirus could be similar.
Unfortunately, the beginning stages of allergies, colds, flus, and the coronavirus can be related, and some coronavirus and flu cases can be so minor that they may not cause much concern. That’s why you must pay attention to the severity and duration of your symptoms, then find out if you’re part of an at-risk party.
Elderly people, people with asthma or other lung problems, people with heart disease or diabetes, and pregnant women may be more susceptible to contracting the virus and are also among the individuals that are often more at risk of succumbing to the virus.
- Coronavirus cases generally have a bit of context.
If you believe you have the coronavirus, you must consider the following:
- Have you traveled recently, and if so, where to?
- Have you had anyone in your household?
- Did a coworker or colleague travel? Where did they go?
- Have you had anyone inside your home from regions where the outbreak is majorly concentrated?
- Have you been on a cruise ship?
- Do you reside close to an area where there’s been an outbreak?
What You Can Do to Prevent Illness and Protect Yourself
As there currently is no existing vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the best method to prevent illness is to avoid any potential exposure to this virus. The virus is said to spread from person-to-person, whether it’s between those who are in close contact with one another–within approximately six feet–or through respiratory droplets made when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. Once airborne, these droplets can travel into the mouths, noses, or eyes of those who are in close proximity.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent and protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19:
- Wash your hands as much as you can, and use hand sanitizer if you aren’t near a sink or soap. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with dirty hands.
- Avoid close contact with those who appear to be sick.
- Keep a safe distance between yourself from others if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
- Stay home if you feel sick.
- Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.
- Wear a facemask if you’re sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces you touch frequently.
Dr. Glatz also mentioned that chloroquine, an antimalarial drug, has been shown to slow down viral replication, reproduction, and maybe early survival. However, don’t see this information as a reason to live in fear. See it as an opportunity to be proactive, hygienic, and safe rather than sorry. The best thing we can do is take the precautionary measures necessary.
To learn more about what you can do to prevent a COVID-19 infection, or to differentiate the symptoms from allergies, the flu, or other ear, nose, or throat illnesses, contact us at 866.602.4716 to set up a consultation today.
You’ll be Glatz You Did!