It’s likely that many people will mistakenly think they have COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention says the primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever (at least 100.4), dry cough and shortness of breath. A high fever is present in about 90% of COVID-19 cases and a cough in about 70%.
The CDC says some people with COVID-19 may also have aches and pains, sore throat and diarrhea, but sniffles and a runny nose typically don’t indicate COVID-19. Some may also have aches and pains, sore throat and diarrhea.
Dr. Greg Poland, a professor of medicine and Infectious diseases at the Mayo Clinic, told CNN that a runny nose and itchy eyes most likely indicate a typical allergy or cold. Poland said coronavirus and flu symptoms tend to affect the whole body. He said it’s very unlikely that an allergy would result in a fever or cause shortness of breath. Allergy symptoms are regularly occurring and usually mild.
The CDC says the risk of catching COVID-19 from someone with no symptoms is very low, but many people with COVID-19 have only mild symptoms. This is often true in early stages of the disease, so it’s possible to catch COVID-19 from someone with a mild cough who doesn’t feel ill. People are thought to be most contagious when most symptomatic (the sickest).
The American College of Physician said people infected with the coronavirus will have symptoms within 12 days of exposure, with an average incubation period of five days.
The seasonal flu, which has infected 34 million people in the United States so far this season, has an incubation period of one to four days.
Though the coronavirus is thought to mainly spread from person to person through close contact and respiratory droplets. People should call a doctor if they develop symptoms, have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or recently were in an area with widespread or ongoing spread of COVID-19.
About 80% of coronavirus cases are considered mild, requiring rest at home, fever reducers and drinking plenty of fluids as with other respiratory illnesses.