Is it a Cold or COVID?

Submitted by Becky Carlson, UUFoM COVID Task Force

In years past, a cough and sore throat would be an obvious sign of a cold, which seemed rather routine in our daily lives. Unfortunately, routine cold symptoms now prompt COVID anxiety. How can you tell the difference? Well, you may not always be able to distinguish between a cold, allergies, or COVID, but here are some subtle differences to help with diagnosis:

Cold symptoms typically include fatigue, congestion, runny nose, cough, sore throat.

Allergy symptoms are similar to cold symptoms, with perhaps more sneezing. 

COVID symptoms can include all those symptoms, as well as these, which are not typical in colds and allergies: diminished taste and smell, fever and chills.

Typically, if someone is vaccinated against COVID, their symptoms can be vague and very mild. With all that said, it is always best to test just to be sure. Rapid tests are inexpensive and easily available in most drug and grocery stores. The federal government is also extending free test kits to individuals who request them online. Rapid tests are much more accurate if someone is exhibiting symptoms, but overall they are not as accurate as PCR testing (nasal cavity swab). Many local Urgent Care clinics are offering PCR testing, which are extremely accurate, but it may take a couple of days to get results. Until you get results, it is recommended that you stay isolated as much as possible and mask. 

For healthy persons with COVID, the viral load diminishes quickly after the onset of symptoms. After 6 days, most COVID-positive persons shed very little virus, but it is a good idea to stay home a full 10 days past the onset of symptoms if possible. For contact tracing, please inform anyone you had close contact with starting 48 hours before symptoms began.

COVID Testing –