Allergies? Flu? or COVID-19? plus Testing!

This is an important question to answer and one that can bring a little bit of calm to you.

Have you been at the grocery store and had to sneeze or cough and then have someone give you the look?

Everyone is on edge about any type of symptom that may represent coronavirus, 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 the coronavirus? It can be difficult to determine but with a couple clues you can start narrowing it down.




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 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.




This is the stressful one! Do you have the coronavirus, specifically COVID-19? The challenge is that the coronavirus is a virus that has been around and produces flu-like symptoms. COVID-19 is a slightly different virus that seems to have a more virulent symptom picture but presents similar to the flu early on.

The symptoms that were reported out of China for COVID-19 were dry cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fever and body aches. Only about 5% of the patients developed nausea and 4% developed diarrhea.

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. Early intervention can make a significant difference.

If you have any of the other above mentioned symptoms then take a breath and trust your body’s healing power!


Testing Options


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%. You go to Quest for this draw.

If you don’t have lab insurance coverage, I can give you a requisition form to go to Lab Corp and have them do the antibody testing at a significantly reduced price.

To get tested for free please visit Project Baseline. You can also contact your medical doctor for more information.

After Hours Pediatrics Urgent Care has PCR and Rapid COVID test for children and adults. To schedule a COVID test:
  • Email a desired testing date to
  • Call Mon-Fri 9am-noon for questions (650) 579-6581
  • Complete the online form
  • They will confirm appointment within 24 hours.
  • Same day appointments available.
Article originally written by Dr. Laura Enfield. This version is edited.