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How To Know If You Have The Flu Or Allergies

Can A Fully Vaccinated Patient Who Develops A Breakthrough Infection Give The Virus To Someone Else

How do I know if I have a cold, or the flu, or allergies?

At a briefing, the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant, the dominant variant in the United States, “may be contagious and spread the virus to others.”

She called this new science worrisome, and said the CDC felt it important for people to understand they have the potential to transmit the virus to others even after they’ve been vaccinated. She said this is especially significant should a person with a breakthrough infection be planning to visit someone with a compromised immune system.

Vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections from the delta variant have similar amounts of virus in their system as those who were unvaccinated when they got sick, Walensky said. The CDC is continuing to study the issue “to understand the impact of forward transmission of those vaccinated people.”

“But unlike the alpha variant that we had back in May, where we didn’t believe that if you were vaccinated you could transmit further, this is different now with the delta variant and we’re seeing now that it’s actually possible that if you’re a rare breakthrough infection that you can transmit further,” she said.

Symptoms Of The Cold Flu Allergies And Covid Can Be Similar Here’s How To Spot The Difference

Weve all been there. You wake up with a sore throat, then come the aches and the congestion that feels like it may cause your head to explode.

Is it a cold or allergies? Or something worse, like the flu or even COVID-19? Should you see your healthcare provider, or just stay home and get rest?

While a cold and the flu have similar symptoms, the flu is much more severe and can result in serious health problems, says Dr. Richard Martin, a family medicine physician at Geisinger Mt. Pleasant in Scranton. “Add allergies and COVID-19, and it can be even more complex to know whether you should call your doctor or get a COVID test.”Lets take a look at how to spot the difference and get you on the road to recovery ASAP.

Signs Your Cold Symptoms Actually Stem From An Allergy

If youre coughing and sneezing and have a sore throat, and youre like most people, youre probably confused about what your symptoms mean. Is it a cold? Allergies? Something worse?

Here at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care, those are some of the most common questions we get. The symptoms of colds and allergies are so similar, its hard to tell the difference.

Dr. James Lee, our experienced family physician, can help you understand the unique aspects of each so you can know whether your cold symptoms are actually allergy symptoms.

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Symptoms Of A Cold Vs The Flu

The flu and the common cold are both caused by a virus. The flu comes from one of four types of influenza viruses , while colds may come from many different types, one of the most common being rhinoviruses.

Youll usually feel better from a cold after seven to 10 days, while flu symptoms can linger for up to two weeks.

The cold and the flu have very similar symptoms, says Troy Madsen, MD, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Utah. But there are some key differences that can help you tell them apart:

Take Steps To Prevent

How To Tell If You Have A Cold Or Allergies

Cho advises consulting with an ENT or allergist to come up with the most effective plan to avoid flare-ups.

However, precautions you can take on a daily basis include limiting outdoor activities when pollen counts are high, taking allergy medication before pollen season begins to prevent the body from releasing histamines and other chemicals that cause allergic symptoms, using high-efficiency particulate absorbance air filters to help reduce exposure to allergens, and maintaining levels of cleanliness to prevent allergic reactions.

WATCH: Flu season is upon us

This includes showering and shampooing daily before going to bed, washing bedding in hot, soapy water, and drying clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line. Cho also recommends changing clothes worn for outdoor activities, as pollen and other allergens tend to cling to fabrics.

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Do You Have A Cold Or Allergies

WebMD Feature

Do you know how to tell the difference between a cold and allergies? Are you sure?

It’s easy to get them confused. Just ask Paul Ehrlich, MD, a professor of pediatrics at New York University. He’d been an allergist for years when he came down with what he thought was a cold. “I’d had a watery, runny nose for several days when one of my patients took a look at me and said, ‘Oh, you have allergies, too!'” Ehrlich says.

He’d never had allergies before, but a checkup with another doctor confirmed that the patient was right. “Turns out I was allergic to birch trees, which were in bloom at the time,” he says.

A cold is an infection caused by a virus. Allergies are your immune system’s reaction to a substance like pollen or pet dander. Because the two conditions cause similar symptoms, like sniffles and stuffiness, many people get them mixed up. Knowing which is which can help you get the right treatment, and that will help you feel better faster.

Be Aware Of The Causes

Every season brings different allergens, with Cho recommending a visit to an ENT or allergist for simple skin tests or blood work to find out what might be your triggers.

READ MORE: Treating a sore throat caused by a common cold or flu

He adds that common fall triggers include smoke from fireplaces, candy ingredients, pine trees and wreaths, pollen from weeds, mould spores, which can grow not only in damp bathrooms and basements but even in wet piles of autumn leaves, and dust mites, which can be stirred into the air the first time someone turns on their central heat in the colder season.

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Allergy & Flu Treatment In Connecticut Massachusetts & New York

Whether you have allergies, the flu, or something else entirely, you can turn to PhysicianOne Urgent Care for diagnosis and treatment. We operate numerous immediate care centers across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, all of which are open 365 days per year with extended hours. to find out whether theres a PhysicianOne Urgent Care near you.

Best of all, our treatment services are available on a walk-in basis, so you wont have to deal with scheduling an appointment ahead of time. Instead, simply stop into one of our locations at a time thats convenient for you. We also have an online check-in option available for individuals who would like to reserve their spot in line, as well as Virtual Visits for those who would prefer to receive care in the comfort of their own home.

“The overall care I received was excellent! I also appreciate your affiliation with Yale New Haven Hospital.”

“Throughout the visit I felt like the staff really cared. The Doctor took his time talking with me about my symptoms, and I felt like he listened to all my concerns and took that into consideration when recommending the right treatment. Thank you!”

“I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care.”

Symptoms Of A Cold Or Allergies Also Include:

How to tell if you have a cold, flu, or just allergies

A cold or seasonal allergies will have different symptoms than coronavirus. Symptoms that will tell you its likely a cold or allergies, and not a case of COVID-19 include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing

Our CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Brett Belchetz, joined Breakfast Television Toronto to talk about the differences between these illnesses that you should look out for. Check out the video below to see what he had to say.

While the above are good guidelines, it bears repeating that symptoms and risks may vary from person to person, so you should always check with a doctor if youre concerned. If you prefer not to travel to a doctors office or waiting room at this time, our doctors are online 24/7 through your phone or computer to discuss your symptoms and help you determine if you require medical attention.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Allergies

Allergy symptoms range in severity from person to person, can be stronger at certain times of the year and aren’t contagious. “For example, someone who suffers from allergies may have their worst symptoms during the summer months, when it’s hotter and plants and grasses pollinate,” says Dr. Martin. They can also be caused by normal things in your environment think pollen, dust, pet dander and mold.

Allergy symptoms can include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Like most respiratory viruses, COVID-19 can be spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Thats why its important to take the recommended measures to protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated, washing your hands, avoiding touching your face and staying home if youre sick, says Dr. Martin.

If you have respiratory symptoms, screen yourself. Based on your results, you can schedule a COVID test . If you test positive, call your doctor.

Its important to identify positive cases of COVID, so that we can take proactive measures in protecting our communities, says Dr. Martin.

Bi Answers: How Can You Tell Whether You Have A Cold The Flu Or Allergies

When you wake up sick, with a scratchy throat, a stuffy nose, and a vague constellation of other miserable symptoms, it’s important to figure out exactly what is ailing you.

Is it just hay fever, or are you contagious? Should you suffer through the work day with your cold, or are you about to unleash a nasty strain of flu on your whole office?

There are a few key strategies for determining the difference between three of the most common causes of respiratory distress: the cold, the flu, and seasonal allergies. We sorted through the research and talked to Dr. Robert Wergin, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, who has seen plenty of sneezing, coughing patients since he began practicing medicine 34 years ago.

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How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are Cold Flu Or Allergies

by Baylor College of Medicine

A runny or stuffy nose can be a symptom of the flu, a cold or allergies, and it can be hard to discern which one you have. So how do you know what’s really going on with your nose?

“More than likely the problem is probably being caused by a virus, especially if there is a defined start date of symptoms, but if your runny nose or congestion is lingering, it could be allergies,” said Isabel Valdez, a physician assistant and instructor of family and community medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “If your runny nose is accompanied by a fever or body aches, then you might have the flu.”

A big indicator that a person might have the flu is when symptoms such as body aches, fevers, chills, nausea, an upset stomach or night sweats suddenly start occurring, Valdez said. Usually high fever, above 101 degrees, signals that you might have the flu. Also, there is a finite ending to having the flu, and you should be done experiencing symptoms after about one to two weeks.

Valdez emphasized that getting the flu shot is an extremely important step to take to protect yourself from contracting the flu.

“The flu shot is there to protect you. You want to get the flu shot so that you can launch an immune response to the real infection if you are exposed to the flu,” she said. “Also, if you do contract influenza, it will hopefully help you get over the illness quicker.”

Cold

Allergies

Explore further

Where Does Covid Fit In

Cold Or Allergies Suck!

Nasal congestion and sneezing can happen with the flu and COVID-19, but are more common with respiratory allergies. Fevers almost never occur with allergies, but are common with the flu and COVID.

Many people infected with COVID develop a loss of taste or smell. COVID can also develop with no symptoms at all. COVID symptoms typically take longer to start and last longer than flu symptoms, while allergy symptoms can come and go as pollen counts rise and fall.

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Despite Symptoms Its Not The Flu

COVID-19 is not the flu.

As one of a class of pathogens known as coronaviruses, COVID-19 is actually more closely related to the common cold than the seasonal flu.

However, despite some overlap, the typical symptoms of COVID-19 are more similar to the flu than the common cold .

The Delta variant, however, may have more cold-like symptoms.

In terms of differentiating between flu and COVID-19, it can be almost impossible to distinguish, Dr. Jake Deutsch, co-founder and clinical director of Cure Urgent Care and Specialty Infusion in New York. Thats why people are recommended to have flu vaccinations so it can at least minimize the risk of flu in light of everything else.

Fevers, body aches, coughing, sneezing could all be equally attributed to them both, so it really means that if theres a concern for flu, theres a concern for COVID-19, Deutsch said.

When and where you get sick might be the best predictor of whether you have a cold, the flu, or COVID-19, Yildirim said.

People living in communities with low vaccination rates and high rates of COVID-19 are more likely to have COVID-19, she said, especially outside of cold and flu season.

However, she said, differentiating becomes more difficult during the winter, when all three diseases may be widespread.

If you have a mild case of COVID-19, the flu, or a cold, treatment is geared toward management of symptoms, said Cutler.

Mild cases of COVID-19 are thought to last approximately 2 weeks, said Cutler.

Your Eyes Are Itchy And Watery

While you might notice some redness or discomfort around your eyes when youre sick with a cold, its more likely that allergies are causing eye symptoms like watering and itching, Dr. Rosenstreich says.

Your nose and throat might feel itchy with a cold, says Dr. Metcalfe, but a cold usually doesnt affect the eyes. Allergies may also cause some swelling around the eyes, adds Dr. Parikh.

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Cold Flu and Allergy Symptoms Know the Difference

You might be one of the millions who dread the changing seasons because common colds, allergies, and sinus problems can pop up like daisies and dandelionsleaving you sneezing and sniffling. But keeping your family healthy is easy if you start early with the appropriate medicines. Cough drops, nasal sprays, and sore throat sprays can provide immediate relief at the first sign of illness. However, if your symptoms persist, you might be dealing with more serious allergy or sinus problems.

So when the sniffling symptoms hit, how will you know if it’s a cold, allergies, or a sinus problem?

First, ask yourself a few questions:

  • How long have you had your cold symptoms? A cold usually lasts about a week to 10 days.
  • Do you have a fever? While allergies might produce symptoms such as a low-grade fever, they are never accompanied by a high fever .
  • Do you have a sinus headache? Are you sniffling or congested, or do you feel pressure around the eyes? This could be a sign of sinus problems.

Then, check this list of common symptoms and how frequently they occur with common colds, allergies, and sinus problems, according to experts at the Stanford University Medical Center. Be sure to speak with your doctor about your own symptoms to see if you have allergies or sinus problems.

Common Cold, Flu, and Allergy Symptoms

1. Runny nose/sniffling?Its often due to allergies or a cold, and sometimes due to a sinus problem.

What We Know Of Omicron

What Do I Have รข Cold, Flu or Allergies?

It would be a big mistake to underestimate the risks posed by the omicron variant, despite some evidence that it causes milder symptoms more akin to a cold than flu.

Experts have judged omicron as being far more transmissible than the delta variant and believe it will soon become the dominant strain internationally. Omicron’s rise to prominence is remarkable given the fact it was only designated as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization on Nov. 26, two days after South Africa reported that it had detected it.

Early, small studies showed that while it was more virulent than the delta variant, it might cause less severe infections but that remains to be seen at a wider, real-world level with an infected person’s age , general state of health and vaccination status being factors in how an illness is experienced.

Vaccine makers have said that the variant undermines the efficacy of a full course of Covid vaccination but that a booster shot helps to restore much of the shots’ protection against severe infection, hospitalization and death.

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Covid Symptoms And Treatment

Coronavirus or COVID19 is an illness that causes respiratory distress. Other CDC coronavirus symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing, body aches, sore throat, and more. There is no vaccine for coronavirus treatment yet but one is being worked on. Prevention includes frequent hand-washing, coughing into the pit of the elbow, wearing a face covering, staying home when sick, and practicing social distancing.

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