COVID symptoms: Easy ways to tell if you have COVID, colds or flu

As the weather begins to cool, doctors see that their practice is starting to fill up.

“We have seen a number of individuals, children more as they go back to school, that they come in with runny nose, sneezing and light cough,” said pediatric infectious disease specialist, Dr. Daisy Dodd with Kaiser Permanente.

Most COVID-19 tests turn out to be negative. Dodd explained that it is difficult for parents to tell the difference between colds, flu and coronavirus. The first piece of advice is just to be patient.

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“The first day or two, if you have the capacity to stay home, then do it,” she said.

COVID tests cannot detect the virus until it replicates for about three days, so wait to be tested and call your doctor instead.

Dodd said she knows it’s common cold when her patients tell her, “I’m not feeling well, doctor, but I can still go to school and I can still go to work.”

Common cold symptoms include a mild temperature of 99 degrees, sore throat, runny nose, cough and thick mucus that changes color. People with the flu tend to have a high fever of 101 or 102 degrees, severe sore throat, fatigue, runny nose, dry cough, headache and body aches.

“The flu really knocks you down in bed. Even if you think you’m a superman, you can not get up,” she said.
COVID symptoms are similar to the flu. High fever, sore throat, fatigue, headache and body aches, but you may also have shortness of breath, immediate loss of smell and taste and diarrhea.

“When we talk about COVID, we need to distinguish between the immunized individual and the non-immunized,” Dodd said.

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For most people vaccinated against COVID, Dodd said a breakthrough infection is likely to feel like a common cold.

“A little bit of a runny nose. A little bit, you know, ‘I’m not feeling well.'” You can deal with the pain and get on with your day. You may not even be aware of it because your symptoms can be so mild. You can be completely asymptomatic. “

Allergies can also make you feel run down, but Dodd said your mucus will usually run clear. The best advice is to get plenty of rest, eat nutritious meals and wear a mask.

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