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Telling the difference between COVID-19, the flu and other illnesses

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:56 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Winter is getting closer and closer and many already have the sniffles or a headache with all the changing weather. This is year is different than most because you have to worry if it’s the flu, cold, allergies and now, COVID-19.

One local resident, Greg Troyer, had a COVID-19 scare. “I woke up and had really bad chills really bad body aches, fever, cough, sore throat, chest tightness all the things that are similar to COVID-19.”

While Troyer tested negative for COVID-19, he’s concerned he was another contagious disease. There are a lot more cases of other illnesses compared to 2020 because we’re taking fewer precautions right now according to Dr. Tim Howard. “We masked to a point where we knocked out the flu last year so that’s still a great thing to do and of course keep your distance”

Even if you don’t have COVID, you still may be contagious. Which can be especially harmful to people who are immunocompromised or over 65. Especially right now where several pharmacies in our area are reporting a flu medicine shortage.

Dr. Howard says the main indicator to see if you’re contagious or not is if you have a fever or aches. Those can be present in COVID, the flu or a cold but it’s rare in allergies. Dr. Tim Howard says congestion also plays a role. “A cold, you’re all stuffy, you can’t taste you can’t smell. Well, that’s because you’re all stuffy. With COVID, you won’t have that but you still can’t taste or smell so that’s really distinguishing.”

Dr. Howard says wo matter if you know if you’re contagious or not, it’s best if you feel sick to just take it easy, even if you have work on the horizon. Troyer took that advice “I treated it as if I did have COVID, just staying away from roommates, staying in my room, wearing a mask if I wasn’t in my room. Just to make sure they didn’t get it or they didn’t transfer it especially with the holidays and with thanksgiving, people seeing relatives especially older relatives.”

Doctor Tim Howard says the way to feel most secure, is to take the best precaution you can and get the vaccine. If you’re feeling under the weather, you can go to an urgent care center to get tested for covid-19 or the flu. At-home tests are also available.

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