Article by: K'Nicia King
Many are in fear of contracting the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is affecting thousands of people globally. One cough or sniffle from any person has built anxiety that they have the virus or other illness needing to be avoided. Though there is great fear of the new virus, there still remains minor colds and allergies. It’s best to be aware of the specific symptoms that distinguish between something minor or something serious. As spring has begun and the weather is changing, try not to fret and take proper precautions. Though major symptoms may overlap, there are distinct differences between all three.
Unlike any virus, seasonal allergies also known as Hay Fever and allergic rhinitis (inflammation of the nose), is very common. It affects millions of people worldwide and can be easily triggered by a variety of things. Pollen, mold, other trees and plants can all cause a spring allergy by exposure to the allergen. Your immune system mistakes the pollen as a pathogen and releases histimines into the blood system to counteract it. This is what causes your allergy symptoms. There is no cure for an allergy and you cannot contract it from another person or animal. Unlike viruses, allergies aren’t treated but managed by antihistimines and other over-the-counter medications. Learn more about allergies here.
Both the common cold and the Flu affect the human upper respiratory system. However, the Flu may also affect the lower respiratory system. Both have a short incubation period of 5-10 days up to 2 weeks. Though a cold is mild, the flu is more serious due to the influenza strain of the virus. A flu can excarbate and become fatal if not properly treated. Both are contagious and may travel from person to person, and typically go away over time.
The Coronavirus is a new severe acute respiratory virus that started in China in 2019. Compared to the cold or flu, the virus spreads rapidly -- affecting about 100 countries within 2 months. Incubation periods are up to 2 weeks and a person can be asymptomatic. This means, an indiviudal can be infected and show absolutely no symptoms. Similar to the cold and flu, it can be transmitted by person to person contact. To know more about the virus, click here.
The first chart below shows the comparisons of severity of symptoms between the cold, flu and the coronavirus. The second chart describes the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Take a look at these links for additionial information on how to protect against viral illnesses and how to treat them.
Be cautious. Don’t immediately assume everyone is suffering from the coronavirus. Be mindful that although the virus is spreading, must not forget that it could just be a mild or an autoimmune response. However, it is best to practice social distancing, washing your hands frequently, wearing a face mask, ands use. If you start to show any of the above symptoms, seek your local medical provider.