How to tell the difference between COVID-19, flu, and allergies

Published: Mar. 9, 2020 at 7:08 PM CDT
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As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in the Omaha-metro and beyond, many more have been afflicted with influenza this year. Throw allergy sufferers into the mix, and similar symptoms can make complying with official requests to self-assess very difficult.

No doubt the flu is serious stuff. This season alone, the CDC reports that

. Meanwhile, more coronavirus cases are being reported every day.

While officials urge the public to be vigilant about possible signs of coronavirus, similar symptoms can create confusion about what might be the cause.

And with the weekend's warm weather bringing strong winds with it, allergy sufferers may also grow concerned.

Here's how to tell the difference between the three:

Allergy symptoms

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that the following are


  • runny nose, stuffy nose, and sneezing
  • wheezing, shortness of breath
  • cough
  • rashes
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever
Flu symptoms

The CDC reports that influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The following are symptoms of the flu.

  • fever, or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (tiredness)
  • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
COVID-19 symptoms

The CDC reports the following as


  • cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • May appear 2-14 days after exposure


also includes the following in their list of COVID-19 symptoms:

  • dry cough
  • tiredness
  • aches and pains
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • diarrhea