COVID-19, Cold, Flu or Allergies? – Part 2

Article featured image | The Eye ProfessionalsThis is Part 2 of a two-part article on the similarities between a cold, influenza, seasonal allergies, and COVID-19, the disease caused by 2019-nCoV.

This is a link to Part 1:  Cold, Flu, Allergies or Coronavirus?

Symptoms of COVID-19

As COVID-19 is a brand new disease caused by a brand new virus, the list of symptoms is a bit longer as we do not have a grasp on what is “typical” for this disease.  Fever, dry cough and respiratory symptoms are the most common. Fatigue is fairly non-specific.

According to the  World Health Organization (WHO) report on COVID-19, the typical signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever (87.9%)
  • Dry Cough (67.7%)
  • Fatigue (38.1%)
  • Sputum production, which is a mixture of saliva and mucus coughed up (33.4%),
  • Shortness of breath (18.6%)
  • Sore throat (13.9%)
  • Headache (13.6%)
  • Muscle and joint pain (14.8%)
  • Chills (11.4%)
  • Nausea or vomiting (5.0%)
  • Nasal congestion (4.8%)
  • Diarrhea (3.7%)
  • Coughing up blood (0.9%)
  • Conjunctival congestion (0.8%)

The WHO report also said people with COVID-19 generally develop signs and symptoms, including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection. The range for developing symptoms is from 1-14 days after infection. That’s why the recommended quarantine for those exposed to COVID-19 is two weeks.

The report also said that most people infected with the COVID-19 virus have mild disease and recover. Approximately 80% of laboratory confirmed patients have had mild-to-moderate disease, which included non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases.

A vaccine is available and effective in preventing some of the most dangerous types of flu. There is no vaccine for COVID-19. Antiviral medications can be used to lessen the symptoms and shorten the duration of the flu. There are currently no antiviral medications for COVID-19.


We all are.  In short, you can not possibly determine your illness based upon symptomatology alone.  It is important to alert your doctor if you have a fever and have respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) so that testing might help diagnose the cause of your illness.

Testing and identifying COVID-19 patients will help with containment and, hopefully, “flattening the curve.”