How coronavirus symptoms compare with those of the flu, allergies, and the common cold


Some symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, overlap with those of the common cold, allergies, and the flu. That can make it tricky to diagnose without a test.

Even President Donald Trump asked pharmaceutical executives earlier this month if the flu vaccine could be used to stop the coronavirus.

(The answer is no, but it’s still good to get a flu shot to lower the chance that you get the flu and take up crucial healthcare resources.)

Here are the symptoms associated with COVID-19 and how they compare with symptoms of the common cold, the flu, and allergies:

If your nose is running, you probably don’t have COVID-19

COVID-19 can be most easily distinguished from colds, allergies, and the flu based on a trifecta of symptoms: fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. That last symptom is not associated with colds or the flu, though it is common for allergies.

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