Many of us are experiencing multiple layers of anxiety related to the pandemic, not the least of which concerns symptoms we may be experiencing. Is it Covid or just a cold?
Regardless of how it may seem, it is still possible to get sick without having the Coronavirus. After all, this was cold and flu season long before Covid-19 existed, and in Texas, it’s always allergy season for someone. But it’s understandable that when you or someone you love comes down with certain symptoms, you imagine the worst-case scenario.
Here’s how to tell the difference.
While there’s no such thing as a good cold, some colds can feel particularly bad, with symptoms like a runny nose or post-nasal drip developing into congestion, heavier drainage, coughing, and sneezing that makes you feel less than your best. Colds, however, rarely leave you short of breath or overly fatigued, except when coughing keeps you up at night. Aches and pains are also limited with a cold, generally to the abdominal area from repeated coughing. Headaches and fever from a cold are rare.
Influenza hits you harder than the average cold, with a more sudden onset of multiple symptoms that are generally kicked up several notches, along with extreme weakness, fever, chills, and overall body aches and pains. Fatigue from the flu can last for weeks, even as other symptoms subside, and severe headaches are common. Shortness of breath not associated with general fatigue is rare. Like other viruses, the flu can cause differing symptoms among patients, but fever and achiness are generally consistently present.
For a state that claims to not have all four seasons, Texas definitely has its share of all the seasonal allergies. Mold spores and ragweed are particularly bad in the Fall, as are a host of indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander, that seem to worsen as the weather and back-to-school season drives us indoors for longer periods. Sneezing, congestion, and itchy/watery eyes, nose, and throat are common, and can result in a sore, inflamed throat, coughing, and general malaise. Fever and headaches are rare, as is shortness of breath, unless you have asthma, which can be triggered by allergens.
Covid-19, as you’ve undoubtedly learned, can present in a multitude of ways, including many symptoms that mimic cold, flu, and allergies. However, fever, chills, and cough are common in Covid-19 patients, and headaches, achiness, fatigue, congestion, sore throat, and sneezing have all been reported. There are several more unique, tell-tale symptoms of the virus, including a new loss of taste or smell, and shortness of breath, although extreme difficulty breathing is generally limited to the most serious cases. As with any illness, if symptoms are mild and manageable, it’s best to isolate and add extra nourishment and supplementation to your body. If symptoms linger or get dramatically worse, contact your healthcare provider.
Because of all the talk about ventilators and ICU, shortness of breath is probably the scariest symptom for most people. It’s important to note that shortness of breath is also a common symptom of anxiety, a condition more people than usual are suffering from right now. Before you panic and assume you have the virus, try some calming techniques to see if the shortness of breath you’re experiencing goes away. When due to an anxiety attack, shortness of breath will generally subside within 30 minutes or so, although another attack may bring it back on later. If these periods of breathing difficulty are brief and not accompanied by other symptoms, it’s likely not Covid-19.
Focus on Wellness
Despite the numbers on the news, not all people who test positive for Covid-19 become ill. In fact, without a test, some would never know they even had it. Unless your symptoms fit the more unique characteristics of Covid-19, become unmanageable, or you have been knowingly exposed to the virus and then develop symptoms, there is no reason to worry.
During this time, as in all cold and flu seasons, practice good hygiene and wellness habits. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, eat nutrient-rich foods that boost immunity, try to get plenty of quality sleep, and refrain from being around others when you — or they — are showing symptoms of illness.
At Infinity Wellness Center, wellness is literally our middle name. We have a variety of programs, techniques, protocols, and therapies aimed at boosting your immunity, identifying and addressing nutritional deficits and otherwise optimizing your health. Contact us to discuss ways to proactively address your wellness during cold and flu season and beyond.