Is it Allergies, the Common Cold or COVID-19?

Is it Allergies, the Common Cold or COVID-19?

Is it Allergies, the Common Cold or COVID-19?

As if the coronavirus hasn’t made you nervous enough about coughing or sneezing, seasonal allergies have arrived and is creating even more confusion! 

While some symptoms do overlap, we’re offering some tips to help you tell the difference between the symptoms of coronavirus, the common cold virus and seasonal allergies. We asked Dr. Morrison to break it down for us!

According to Dr. Morrison, common symptoms that overlap each other are mainly fatigue, sore throat and dry cough. But some symptoms are more specific to colds versus allergies versus COVID-19, and that can help you tell the difference, and hopefully put your mind at ease.

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies — typically to pollen, trees, and grasses — are the result of a histamine response, which causes symptoms like:

  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Scratchy or tickly throat 
  • Mild dry cough
  • For asthma-prone individuals, allergies can cause shortness of breath

Common Cold

Similar to allergies but without the itchiness, the common cold tends to include symptoms like:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen lymph nodes — this can also be a sign of strep throat
  • Mild to moderate fever
  • Cough
  • Mild body aches 
  • Mild to moderate chest discomfort 


The novel coronavirus tends to settle in the lungs, which is why people with COVID-19 don’t typically have a runny nose or sneezing. The signs and symptoms most unique to COVID-19 include:

  • Fever
  • Air hunger — a feeling that you can’t get enough oxygen
  • A feeling of chest constriction or tightness 
  • Loss of senses of taste and/or smell 
  • Extreme fatigue and body aches
  • Additional symptoms reported include sore throat, foot ulcers, and digestive upset with nausea and diarrhea. 

It’s important to note that there is still a lot we don’t yet know about COVID-19 and its symptoms. Be sure to refer to the CDC’s guidelines and instructions if you feel sick, including updated guidance on when to seek medical attention.

For tips to help prepare and support your immune system against viral infections give your practitioner a call so they can help give you supportive suggestions. 

Additional sources: