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Do You Have COVID-19, the Flu, a Cold or Seasonal Allergies?
10/01/2020

Coronavirus, the flu, the common cold and even seasonal allergies can cause some of the same symptoms. For instance, you may have a cough with most of these ailments. But other symptoms, like a fever, are more likely to occur with only COVID-19 and the flu.

To help you tell the difference between these conditions, here’s a roundup of their most common symptoms. It may ease your mind and help you and other Disney Cast Members and Employees make the best health care choices.

An Important Note Before You Read

Don’t use this blog as a substitute for a medical diagnosis. If you or someone you know doesn’t feel well, talk with a doctor right away. You can easily have a video visit with one of our online physicians through theAdventHealth app.  Contact the Member Experience Center at 855-747-7476 to learn more about the AdventHealth app or to schedule an appointment with your physician.  

When You May Have COVID-19 Symptoms

If you’re wondering whether you or a loved one has COVID-19, keep these threesymptoms in mind: fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. These are the main symptoms that people develop when they have the virus.

These symptoms develop abouttwo to 14 days after a person is exposed to the virus, and they typically last a few days to a week.

The World Health Organization has reported other symptoms — such as fatigue, body aches and sore throat — in some people infected with coronavirus. However, these aren’t as common.

Coronavirus has fewer primary symptoms, which mostly affect the respiratory tract. Many people seem to have only minor symptoms, while others may develop a severe illness.

If you think you or a loved one may have coronavirus, contact your personal physician right away. Use theAdventHealth appto make a telehealth (also called telemedicine) video visit with your primary care physician online or contact the Member Experience Center at 855-747-7476 to get you in touch with a physician.

Your physician can tell you how best to proceed. Make sure to tell the doctor if you are older than age 65 or have anyunderlying health conditions that may put you at risk for severe symptoms. These include:

  • Cancer 
  • Chronic lung disease or asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease or other heart problems
  • Liver disease
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • HIV and other diseases causing a weakened immune system
  • Severe obesity (a body mass index at or over 40)

If you have mild symptoms, your primary care physician will likely advise you to stay at home and at least 6 feet away from other people. Plenty of rest and fluids can help you feel better.

When You May Have Symptoms of the Flu

Like COVID-19, the flu is caused by a virus that spreads from person to person. It can infect the nose, throat and, at times, the lungs. Symptomscan range from mild to very severe. Unlike coronavirus, there is a vaccine to protect you against the flu and it is your best flu defense. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one key difference between the flu and other ailments — including coronavirus — is the sudden onset of symptoms. You may feel fine one day and then miserable the next. What’s more, symptoms often affect more than your respiratory tract and may include:

  • Cough 
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)

If a physician suspects you have the flu, stay home and away from others, as you would do with other viral illnesses. In some cases, your physician may prescribe antiviral medicines to help treat the flu. The CDC recommends these other care tips, too.

Do You Have Cold Symptoms or Coronavirus?

Unlike coronavirus and the flu, the common cold usually does not cause a fever. And it often affects only the upper respiratory tract. If you have a cold, you are most likely to have these symptoms:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing 
  • Fatigue
  • Mild body aches
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat

A cold is usuallyless severe than the flu. And the symptoms tend to develop gradually. They may last about seven to 10 days.

Certain remedies, like staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest, can help ease your symptoms. So, too, may over-the-counter pain and cold medicines. Contact your primary care physician if your cold lasts longer than 10 days or if your symptoms suddenly worsen.

Is It Seasonal Allergies or Coronavirus?

In the case of seasonal allergies, it’s important to note that you won’t have a fever. You are also not likely to have a cough, body aches or chest discomfort. The main symptomsof seasonal allergies — namely, hay fever — are:

  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing

Another key difference between seasonal allergies and other ailments like the common cold is how long symptoms last. With seasonal allergies, you may have symptoms for up to six weeks. It depends on how long outdoor allergens, like pollen from trees, grasses and other plants, are circulating in the air near you.

You can help ease your seasonal allergies by avoiding contact with allergens. For instance, limit your time outside when pollen counts are high. Over-the-counter medicines and nasal sprays may help, too.

What to Do if You Are Concerned About Symptoms

The best approach during this time is totalk with your primary carephysician if you or a loved one doesn’t feel well and you are concerned about the symptoms. You can easily have a video visit with one of our doctors through theAdventHealth app.

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you should avoid the emergency room at your local hospital, except in cases of an emergency. While many people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, emergency care is sometimes needed. Call 911 if you or a loved one develops thesesevere coronavirus symptoms:

  • Bluish lips or face
  • Confusion or inability to stay awake
  • Ongoing chest pain or pressure
  • Trouble breathing

When you call 911, tell the operator that you have or think you may have coronavirus. Otherwise, with worsening symptoms that don’t seem life-threatening, the best thing to do is call your primary care physician first. With a phone call or telehealth video visit, your physician can advise you on what to do next.

We’re Here to Help 

We’re here for you, your family and your fellow Disney Cast Members and Employees through this pandemic and the cold and flu season. Take charge of your health and prepare by getting your flu shot at your primary care provider’s office or call the Member Experience Center at 855-747-7476 to connect you to a personal physician.