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How to distinguish between COVID-19, allergies and cold symptoms

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 19:00:28-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Are your symptoms COVID-19 related or something else?

It's a question many of us have found asking ourselves or plugging into Google to find the answer but coming up short.

That's why ABC Action News contacted Tampa General Hospital in hopes of a definitive answer.

“A lot of people are anxious and worried and want to rule those things out," Dr. Paul Nanda of Tampa General Hospital said.

Dr. Paul Nanda is the Chief Medical Officer for TGH Urgent Care Powered by Fast Track and says it's not only symptoms that are part of a diagnosis but also situations.

For example, if you are following the Center for Disease Control guidelines or not.

“If you have been quarantining and social distancing and not around anybody then that risk of COVID is probably small and rather minimal.” Dr. Nanda said.

However, if you haven't been cautious your risk may be greater and you may have the coronavirus.

A typical cold usually includes cough and sore throat, maybe even congestion.

Allergies on the other hand can be distinguished by watery or itchy eyes.

What Dr. Nanda says the medical community is looking for are symptoms of a complete system-wide response.

“Usually COVID symptoms are more fever cough, shortness of breath, shakes, chills, headache and tend to be a more rapid onset. And sometimes you have a loss of taste or smell, which you typically don’t see with allergies,” he said.

If you cannot determine the cause of your symptoms, they worsen or you are feeling off, Dr. Nanda suggests contacting your physician.