Telling the Difference Between COVID-19, Influenza, Allergies, and Anxiety

By: Vanessa Astros
| Published 04/28/2020


HOUSTON, TX - As the list of symptoms of the COVID-19 virus grows, it can be alarming if you notice similar signs in yourself. However, many other conditions, including influenza and allergies, can display in the same way. Additionally, anxiety about the virus can cause you to be hyper-aware and maybe even blow small symptoms out of proportion. Notice a new sign? Check out our guide to get a better idea of what to do next.

The Flu, COVID-19, or Allergies?

The flu and COVID-19 are both viruses affecting the respiratory system, and allergies often cause respiratory symptoms as well. Since these affect the same tract in the body, the symptoms can often mirror each other, making it difficult to determine what you have.

Or Is It Anxiety?

Let’s face it — anxiety is running a little high right now. Anxiety can present through a variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, feeling hot, fatigue, headache, nausea, and more. Sound familiar? Many of these signs of anxiety are also signs of a virus, which can make it all the more confusing when determining if you should speak with your doctor. If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are a sign of anxiety or an infection, take some time to calm down before reaching out to your primary care physician. During this time, do something that soothes you, such as meditating, reading a book, completing a puzzle, or sipping a hot cup of herbal tea. After some anxiety has eased, reassess your symptoms.

If you notice new symptoms similar to the ones above, write them down, note the severity, and keep track of how long you’ve had them. Schedule a virtual visit with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician, and share this information with them to give them a better idea of how to help you achieve better health.

Learn more about scheduling a virtual visit with a doctor in your area: Virtual Visits for Greater Houston

Everyday Health | What Are Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?
CDC | Symptoms of Coronavirus
CDC | Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis
WHO | Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
ACAAI | Allergy Symptoms

Because the situation surrounding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, some information may not be up to date. Stay informed by following information from your local officials and by visiting the CDC website.

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