What are the symptoms for COVID-19, and how are they different from a cold, flu or allergies?

Welcome to “A Virtual Q&A with Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacists”! Join our pharmacists as they answer your questions on various health and medication topics.

What are the symptoms for COVID-19, and how are they different from a cold, flu or allergies?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 seem to be dry cough, fever, fatigue and shortness of breath. Other symptoms reported also include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, diarrhea, nasal congestion, pneumonia, runny nose and sore throat. People of all ages who experience fever and/or cough associated with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure or loss of speech or movement, should seek medical attention immediately if possible. It's also recommended to call your healthcare provider facility first, so the patient can be directed to the right clinic.

What makes the symptoms of COVID-19 tricky is that these symptoms of cough, ache, fever, fatigue and shortness of breath may seem to be symptoms of a flu, common cold or allergies. There are slight differences in how a cold, flu or COVID-19 presents itself. For instance, the common cold rarely has a fever and often presents with mild coughing, sore throat and runny nose or stuffy nose. The flu on the other hand, commonly presents with fatigue, fever, dry cough, but doesn't present with any shortness of breath. Allergies can also have some overlapping symptoms with COVID-19. With allergies, harmless bits of dust, pet dander or pollen can trigger our bodies to block out these foreign particles, causing sneezing, stuffy nose, red or irritated and watery eyes and sometimes even fatigue and shortness of breath. However, symptoms of seasonal allergies do not include fever, sore throat or diarrhea. For a full set of these differences between COVID-19 and the cold, the flu and allergies, you can take a look at the Shoppers Drug Mart Symptoms Checker, located online at www.shoppersdrugmart.ca.

It's also very important that, as we get near the flu season, especially this year, that you receive the flu vaccine to protect yourself from catching the flu. By getting the flu shot, not only do you help protect yourself, but you help protect those around you. Getting the flu could make you more susceptible to getting other infections, such as COVID-19. Also, be rest assured, that getting the flu vaccine will not increase your risk of getting the Coronavirus.

Whether you have questions about your prescription medications, over-the-counter products, immunizations, or other health concerns, our pharmacists are here to help. The information provided is for personal use, reference and education only and is not intended to be a substitute for a physician’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional for specific information on personal health matters. This information included in this recording is correct as of June 5, 2020.