TEXAS (KIAH) – Texas flu numbers are up this week. If you’re in an office today and a co-worker sneezes, everyone could raise an eyebrow. But what do they have? A cold, flu, COVID, nothing at all?

A child with sniffles says they can’t go to school. ‘Tis the season of guessing if someone is sick or not.

CW39’s Medical Minute reporter Idolina Peralez spoke to Texas doctors at Baylor Scott and White. They said the general pattern they see with allergies is:

  • Clear nasal discharge
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Dry cough

But if someone is sick with a virus, such as the cold or flu, they will have:

  • A productive cough
  • Possibly shortness of breath
  • Body aches
  • Fever

All of these symptoms are indications the body is fighting off a virus, which would be different from allergies.

And how about COVID-19?

Doctors we spoke with said COVID symptoms have actually changed from the onset of the pandemic when people reported loss of taste and smell.

“We don’t see that now. The predominant symptoms of COVID right now, sore throat, cough, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, a little bit of shortness of breath, not as bad as before, but all those symptoms can also be seen with influenza and the common cold.” 

Dr. David Winter
Baylor Scott & White Health

“So I tell folks, if you have any of these symptoms, get a COVID test, the treatment for COVID and influenza and the common cold are all different,” said Dr. Winter.