Is it allergies, the flu, or Covid-19? This is an important question to answer if you are experiencing symptoms, yeah?
Have you been at the grocery store and had to sneeze or cough and then have someone give you the look?
Many people are on edge about any type of symptom that may represent coronavirus-19, and this is creating a lot of stress and anxiety for people. I know I have coughed in public and then felt the need to follow the cough with the statement “I’m not sick, I had a tickle in my throat!”
But how do we know if we have allergies, cold, flu, or coronavirus-19? It can be difficult to determine. Getting a visit and assessment with a healthcare professional like me is always a good idea. But here's a few clues so you can start narrowing it down on your own. ;)
Now that we are in the full swing of spring, many people's allergies are also in full swing. If you have seasonal allergies you know the symptoms. For some it is itchiness - eyes, nose, throat. Others get more of the congestion, runny nose, runny eyes, and cough, while some get headaches as well with a general fullness in the sinuses. These can all be combined or interchanged as well. The main thing is that it is usually pretty much confined to the head.
If you have seasonal allergies you know the routine. However, sometimes allergies develop later in life so if this is you pay attention to your symptoms and use the above as a guide.
Here is where things can get tricky. With the flu you may have the above symptoms, but you are also going to feel it through your whole body: aches, pains, and general malaise. Sometimes there is a low-grade fever associated with the flu as well. The main thing to remember here is that the flu usually resolves in about 1 week versus allergies will be more ongoing through the season or so on.
This is the stressful one! Do you have the coronavirus, specifically COVID-19? The challenge is that this virus can produce allergy, cold and/ or flu-like symptoms. COVID-19 is a slightly different because it seems to have a more virulent and longer-lasting symptom picture, but can present similar to the flu early on.
The symptoms being reported for COVID-19 are most commonly dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fever and body aches. Less commonly, patients developed lack of appetite, nausea and/ or diarrhea. Other symptoms may occur too, but the above things are the main, most usual stuff to keep in mind.
If you have the above symptoms then you may have COVID-19. I recommend going to the ER if your symptoms progress quickly or severely, and especially if you have shortness of breath. Early intervention can make a significant difference.
If you have any of the other above mentioned symptoms more mildly, then take a breath and trust your body’s healing power! And don't forget to engage professional support - I am available via telemedicine to guide and support you with an aggressive home treatment plan. There are lots of things you can do at home to get yourself through this.
Testing for COVID-19
If you are concerned and want to see your antibody levels to confirm or deny exposure, please email me or call the office. Remember, this does not tell you IF you have the virus, only if you were exposed, because it is looking at your immune response - it's not looking for an active virus.
First a quick immunology lesson. IgM is the antibody that is formed early on in exposure, typically within the first 4 weeks. Then, at a few weeks after exposure IgG starts forming and is longer lasting. If you have recently been exposed the IgM could be elevated while the IgG may not yet be elevated.
Two Antibody Testing Options Available at My Clinic
Quest Diagnostics has recently released their IgG antibody test (developed by Roche) The assay has a specificity of 99.8% and a sensitivity of 100%. The test fee can be covered by your insurance.
Vibrant America is the other lab that I am using. They are testing IgG and IgM antibodies with sensitivity 98.1% and specificity 98.6% for both of these antibodies. This test is not covered by insurance.
Both tests require an in-office blood-draw. I am taking all the required office precautions so that you can feel and be safe coming in. Please call the office if you want to get tested.