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Difference Between Cold, Flu, and an Allergy

What is the Difference Between Cold, Flu, and an Allergy?

How do you differentiate between a simple cough, the seasonal flu, the annual bout of allergies or covid-19? It is important to get a proper diagnosis so you get the appropriate care based on your actual condition.

Common colds, flu viruses and allergies are a part of life for many of us – especially in the fall and winter months. Every year, many of us will seek medical attention for these common ailments, although the covid-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of healthcare and increased anxiety around symptoms that are shared between colds, seasonal flu’s, allergies and covid-19.

A simple understanding of the differences between these various conditions, however, can help reduce anxiety you might experience if/when you start experiencing certain symptoms.

The Symptoms Of Common Ailments (Cold, Flu, Allergies)

A stuffy nose, sneezing, chills, sore throat, a possible dry or a wet cough and body aches are the most common symptoms of the common cold.

If you have a seasonal flu, you may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and a spike in your body temperature.

Seasonal allergies on the other hand usually occur at the same time (or season) every year, and are most commonly identified with symptoms such as itchy or watery eyes, scratchy throat, rashes, sneezing and/or a cough.

Triggers, Prevention, Intervention And Treatment

Common colds often are spread when someone who already has a cold coughs or sneezes near you and spreads tiny droplets through the air which carries the infection that you get exposed to. The flu and covid-19 viruses also spread in a similar way and are almost always contagious.

Keep in mind, though, that none of these conditions are bacterial in nature so antibiotics will not treat or improve the symptoms.  Over-the-counter medication, home remedies and adequate rest are the only ways that will help you fight and heal from these various types of infections. Getting a yearly flu vaccine (or “flu shot”) can help to reduce the chances of catching a seasonal flu but does not guarantee immunity. Using the same logic, antibiotics are also not used to treat the covid-19 virus.

On the other hand, an allergic reaction could be triggered by a variety of simple and environmental allergens, such as dust, pollen or animal dander. Allergies are not contagious and are treated using medications, allergy shots/drops, holistic treatments and non-surgical methods to help clear the body of the irritating allergen and/or build up immunity to it.

If you are not feeling well, visit your local urgent care clinic (like Prime Urgent Care in Pearland, TX) where a health care provider will help to correctly diagnose your condition. Prime Urgent Care does offer rapid covid-19 testing at our clinic.

When To Be Concerned

If you are experiencing symptoms, such as a loss of smell or taste and/or shortness of breath, you should seek immediate medical care from a healthcare provider to rule out any possibilities of a more severe respiratory infection or possible exposure to covid-19 as this new virus can initially present itself as a severe respiratory condition or pneumonia.

It is good to know, though, that 80% of people who are exposed to the covid-19 virus have very mild symptoms which often require just a home quarantine (as prescribed by the CDC) and a simple regime of OTC (over-the-counter) medicine.

Why Choose an Urgent Care Clinic if You Feel That You May Need Testing or Treatment for Your Colds, Flu and Allergies?

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, a visit to a hospital or an emergency room is discouraged because of a high chance of exposure to the virus, along with the strain that it places on the already burdened hospitals and emergency rooms in many parts of the country. Urgent care clinics now offer even more distinct advantages over traditional health care providers by providing rapid covid-19 testing, the diagnosis and treatment of many non-life-threatening conditions/injuries and even telemedicine in a cost-effective, expedited and safer health care environment.

If you have a cold, are running a temperature or have allergies that are producing symptoms that require medical attention, schedule an appointment on our website at www.primeuc.com or call us at 713.340.3111. We also offer telemedicine appointments that can be scheduled online so you can be seen by one of our qualified health care practitioners in the comfort and safety of your own home.

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