With COVID-19 still a problem in the United States, learning the symptoms can be crucial to stopping its spread and saving lives. However, some of these symptoms seem quite similar to the common cold, the flu, and even seasonal allergies! Overlapping symptoms of illness are by no means uncommon. Here are some common symptoms and what they typically mean:

Muscle Aches and Pains

When your body aches, it’s tired. Typically, we get aches and pains from overexertion, but the body may also ache during periods, or if someone has a condition like fibromyalgia or an autoimmune disorder like lupus or dermatomyositis. Some infections may also cause muscle aches, especially in cases of the flu, polio, or bacterial infections. Even medications may cause achiness as well, depending on their side effects.

Shortness of Breath

Feeling short of breath is common among even the healthiest people. While it can be brought on by an intense workout, high altitudes, and extreme temperatures, most other causes are a bit more concerning. Although not deadly, feeling short of breath may be a sign of a panic attack in those with anxiety. Other times, shortness of breath can be attributed to an asthma attack or an illness that mainly affects the lungs, like lung cancer, pneumonia, and COVID.

Sore Throat

Just like achy muscles, a sore throat can happen when overworked, but a scratchy, sore throat that gets worse when you swallow is another story. These kinds of sore throats are often attributed to viral infections, but they usually go away on their own. If the condition worsens over time, a sore throat could be attributed to illnesses like strep throat, the flu, or the common cold.


Coughing itself is a reflex, made to clear the throat of potential irritants or blockages. We cough with allergies, we cough when we’re sick, and we cough when we’re choking. We even cough to clear our throats! While a cough alone isn’t always enough to cause concern, it is always best to monitor your coughs and try to determine their source. If coughing lasts longer than two weeks, consider visiting a doctor for help.


Sneezing is another kind of reflexive action, made to clear the nose and sinuses of irritants and blockages. Just like with coughs, sneezing is common among allergies, colds, and the flu. Usually, the two come as a pair, alongside a stuffy or runny nose.

So How do I know if I have COVID?

If you’ve had it before and your symptoms feel the same, then you’ll know it’s COVID. However, most people may not know if they have Coronavirus or even carry the virus asymptomatically. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it is best to try and rest, and speak to a doctor if necessary. You know your body best.


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