By Dr. Amy Cocina, primary care, Nuvance Health Medical Practice
This spring has brought sunshine and warmer temperatures finally — but the downside has been an unusual cold and flu season. COVID-19 infections, flu, allergies, strep throat and tick-transmitted illnesses are some of the common medical concerns we’re seeing across primary care offices in the Hudson Valley and western Connecticut.
Despite it being well beyond the typical season, flu is still spreading in our communities. At the same time, we’ve had an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Because of the prevalence of COVID-19, it can be difficult to tell if someone has flu, COVID-19 or something else. Find care now.
Is it the flu?
Many people with flu present with fever, chills and body aches. This can be difficult to distinguish from a COVID-19 infection because some people have the same symptoms. Generally, patients are tested for both viruses at the same time with a rapid test. If you have these symptoms, it’s important to quarantine until you are tested. Ask for help if you are not sure.
COVID-19 and strep prevalent
COVID-19 cases appear to be on the rise in many communities. This coronavirus may also present with different symptoms separate from fever, chills and body aches. For example, sore throat and headache are common symptoms of COVID-19. However, a sore throat may be a sign of strep — another illness that seems to be prevalent right now. It’s important to be tested for strep throat if you are symptomatic. Untreated strep can potentially lead to other health problems.
Is it my allergies?
It’s been a rough allergy season so far with plenty of runny noses, coughs and itchy eyes to go around. However, allergies symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms too. Keep in mind that allergies generally don’t cause fever, chills or body aches, so if that happens, make sure you are tested for COVID-19 and/or flu. Here’s a list of urgent cares.
Most people know their allergy triggers and what season they are most likely to have allergies. So, if there’s a change in this pattern, it may be a clue you should see a doctor.
High risk for ticks
Finally, in our area, things can get even trickier, because fever, chills and body aches are the same symptoms as infections caused by tick bites such as Lyme disease. Anyone who has a pet or spends a lot of time outdoors knows that we’re in a challenging time of year for ticks.
If you have a rash, or know you have been bitten by a tick, that can help your provider quickly find the correct diagnosis.
Listen to your body. If you aren’t feeling well, it’s important to call your doctor for testing. Remember to explain all your symptoms. They can help diagnose and help you manage springtime illnesses.
Experiencing symptoms? Nuvance Health offers telehealth or in-person appointments for sick or preventive primary and urgent care. Book your appointment here.