If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough and difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
New information about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak is updated so frequently that you can barely keep up. At the same time, flu season is at its peak and your car is covered in a fine layer of yellow pollen, and now you’ve started coughing. How do you know if it’s COVID-19 or something else?
Possible exposure to COVID-19 is just as important as your symptoms in determining if you’re at risk, especially because the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to many other respiratory illnesses.
Know the key differences for COVID-19
For now, you can only be tested for COVID-19 if you meet the criteria for showing symptoms and known exposure to the virus.
Symptoms for COVID-19 include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Because COVID-19 is caused by a new type of coronavirus, your exposure to others who have COVID-19 is important in deciding if you might be at risk. You might have been exposed to COVID-19 if you:
- Traveled to a high-risk area – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps a list of COVID-19 high-risk areas
- Were in close contact with someone known to have COVID-19
Some groups may get very sick from COVID-19, including older adults and those with existing chronic health conditions. Those who are in high-risk groups should reach out to their doctor even when experiencing mild symptoms. If you develop any of the following symptoms, seek medical assistance immediately:
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
Ruling out other possibilities
The flu, colds, allergies, coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses can all produce similar symptoms. It’s important to be familiar with the symptoms of each and to know how to distinguish the symptoms of Covid-19.
Symptoms of the flu include:
• Headache & body aches
• Severe fatigue
• Sore throat
• Dry cough
Symptoms for colds vary, but often include:
• Nasal symptoms like a runny nose and congestion
• Sore throat
• Fever is also less common among cold symptoms
Symptoms of allergies usually include:
- Runny nose
- Itchy and watery eyes
No matter what you think your symptoms might mean, the best thing you can do when you’re not feeling well is to contact your healthcare provider. While details of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, practice basic prevention measures to reduce your risk of getting sick with the coronavirus. Remember – wash your hands, wash your hands and wash again.