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Know the Symptoms: COVID-19, Seasonal Allergies and Flu


NOTE:  The following information was published March 26, 2020. For current COVID-19 information, visit

It can be confusing to differentiate the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) from other illnesses, especially as we enter allergy season and close out flu season. Here’s what you need to know.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 is most commonly marked with a fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. As a virus that affects your lower respiratory tract, most of the symptoms are felt in the chest and lungs. This means someone with COVID-19 is less likely to have symptoms that are typical of upper respiratory infections, including a runny nose, nasal congestion or sneezing. More recent reports have suggested that some patients with COVID-19 will have these symptoms, either as a direct result of COVID-19 or another simultaneous respiratory infection. Some patients also report fatigue, body aches and nausea.

If you have known exposure to someone who has COVID-19, be extra vigilant of your symptoms. This virus is highly contagious and can live on surfaces for extended periods of time.

What are symptoms of seasonal allergies?

Itchy eyes, runny nose, coughing, fatigue and headache are all symptoms of seasonal allergies. With allergies, you may get a low-grade fever; but if your fever is over 101⁰ F, you can rule out allergies as the cause.

What are symptoms of flu?

Some symptoms of influenza (flu) are the same as COVID-19, like a fever and cough. However, people who have flu are more likely to experience upper respiratory symptoms and body aches.

What should I do next?

Regardless of your symptoms, during the COVID-19 epidemic it’s best to stay home and follow the guidelines below.

COVID-19 symptom pre-screening – If you have symptoms associated with COVID-19 – fever, cough and shortness of breath – Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) offers three different COVID-19 pre-screening options, all of which can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

  • COMPLETE AN E-VISIT. Complete a detailed questionnaire to submit to your provider by visiting or the MyLVHN app.
  • CALL THE MyLVHN HOTLINE. 1-888-402-LVHN (5846).
  • COMPLETE AN LVHN VIDEO VISIT by downloading the MyLVHN app.

After the pre-screening, a medical professional will let you know if you need further assessment and where to obtain those services.

You must be in the state of Pennsylvania to receive screening due to medical licensing regulations for these pre-screening services.

Seasonal allergy symptoms – Consult your provider. You may find relief from over-the-counter medications or by regularly flushing your nasal passages with a neti pot.

Flu symptoms During the COVID-19 crisis, it’s best to call your provider or 1-888-402-LVHN (5846) before visiting an LVHN facility or an ExpressCARE. A medical professional can provide next steps based on your health and age.

For the latest COVID-19 updates and guidelines, visit

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