Are you feeling an increased sensitivity about the smallest symptoms that are noticed in yourself or your family members? With Coronavirus dominating the news headlines and changing our daily routines, it’s normal to be wondering whether you have been exposed to the virus. Since this illness is relatively new, it’s important that you learn how to tell the difference between seasonal allergies, the common flu, and COVID-19.
At iCare ER and Urgent Care, our team is working hard to provide the latest information to support the healthcare of your family. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assessing your symptoms:
Coronavirus vs. Flu or Allergies
What symptoms are you experiencing? Read through the following explanations to determine if your symptoms are related to COVID-19 or another health concern:
- Shortness of Breath: While influenza and other illnesses can cause shortness of breath, this symptom is usually much more severe in patients with COVID-19. This symptom usually begins within 5 to 10 days after the first sign of fever, although the timeline can vary for each person. This key Coronavirus symptom is a good indicator that you might have COVID-19 instead of other common viral infections.
- Sneezing: If you are sneezing throughout the day, then it is likely that your symptoms are caused by allergies or a head cold. This symptom is not typical of Coronavirus.
- Congestion: A runny nose, stuffy sinus, and postnasal drip might lead to a cough. But it is important to note that Coronavirus typically causes a dry cough. Information from China reported that only 20 in 1000 patients experienced nasal congestion.
- Chronic Symptoms: Also, consider your history of health symptoms. If you have experienced allergies in the past, and notice an increase in symptoms during the spring and summer months, then it is likely that these symptoms are caused by chronic allergies – not Coronavirus.
- Environmental Factors: Allergy symptoms will vary depending on environmental exposure, but Coronavirus symptoms remain constant regardless of the environment. If the symptoms worsen with exposure to pollen, dust, or animal dander, then you are likely experiencing allergies.
- Body Aches: Allergies don’t cause body aches, which means that aching muscles and fatigue are likely the result of Coronavirus or influenza.
Finally, it is important to look at your overall health.
Allergy symptoms tend to be focused on the respiratory tract, causing symptoms that only affect the eyes, nose, and throat. On the other hand, COVID-19 and other viral infections have a higher chance of causing generalized symptoms that affect the entire body, such as headache, body aches, and fever.
COVID-19, Cold, and Flu are All Caused by Viruses
The common cold and flu are caused by viruses, which is why some of the symptoms are similar to those of COVID-19. Different viruses cause these infections, so the same prevention techniques can be used to minimize your potential exposure.
Recommended prevention includes washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, wearing a facemask to avoid breathing in droplets, and staying away from other people with symptoms. The Stay at Home orders across the nation limit community spread by decreasing the interaction with people who might be carriers of the virus.
Just because you notice symptoms, doesn’t mean that you have Coronavirus. Not all symptoms are created equal, and people experience varying severity of symptoms.
It might seem like you have Coronavirus, but don’t jump to conclusions about the diagnosis without a test to verify the cause of symptoms. There’s a possibility that you have influenza or seasonal allergies, which are both common conditions during this time of year.
What to Do if You Think You Have Coronavirus
Hospitals and healthcare facilities will continue to be under higher demand as we reach the peak of COVID-19 infections here in the United States. Healthcare professionals are recommending that patients avoid medical facilities if urgent or emergency services aren’t required. Not only is there a concern about spreading the virus to other people in the medical facility. But you could also be facing an increased risk of exposure. For example, visiting a healthcare clinic for allergy symptoms or other unessential medical care could result in community spread of COVID-19 if you come in contact with someone who is carrying the virus. Healthcare workers are proactive about minimizing the potential spread of disease, but people can spread the virus without symptoms.
If you think that you or a loved one has Coronavirus, then the recommendation is to call a doctor before coming in for testing. We have certain screening processes and protocols to test for the virus safely, helping to minimize the risk of community exposure. Call us right away so we can discuss your options and help you determine if medical care is needed. Don’t hesitate to come to the ER or call 911 if you are finding it difficult to breathe or you are experiencing other emergency symptoms.
Call Us at iCare ER and Urgent Care
Our team of board-certified physicians is here to assist with all of your healthcare needs. We are ready and able to help with a variety of medical concerns and can determine a proper diagnosis for your symptoms.
If you need to talk to a doctor or nurse, then we invite you to contact us at our Frisco or Fort Worth medical clinics. We are unique because we have both emergency services and urgent care support in the same medical clinic. An initial screening will determine the level of care that is required, helping you avoid expensive ER bills if emergency services aren’t necessary.
If you need an appointment, then our online sign-on system can speed up the process when you arrive. Walk-ins are welcome, or you are always welcome to call if you have questions.
In case of an emergency, please come to the ER immediately or call 911 for assistance. iCare ER and Urgent Care can be reached at (214) 407-8668.