The list of symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus seems to expand by the week. In fact, according to the talking heads at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the virus is associated with everything from loss of smell to hair loss to muscle weakness.
But in my view, it’s equally important to know about two common allergy, cold, and flu symptoms, which, if you have them, are pretty good indicators that you DON’T have the much-feared new virus.
So, let’s dive right in…
You may NOT have coronavirus if…
One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between a late summer/early fall allergy, a cold, the flu, and the coronavirus is to check how your eyes feel…
Typically, people blink about 12 times per minute, 10,000 times per day, and more than 4 million times each year. This normal, reflexive function serves three purposes….
First, you blink in reaction to outside stimuli. (In fact, your eyes can shut within 0.1 seconds in reaction to stimuli, such a sudden bright light, a physical object, or even a small particle of sand.)
Second, blinking spreads protective, lubricating fluid across the eye.
Third, blinking clears away dust, pollen, and/or even microbes that get into your eyes.
(Your eyes also produce extra fluids—and become red and itchy—in response to allergens or a viral or bacterial infection.)
However, according to the CDC, watery, red eyes are typically not a symptom of coronavirus. So, if you find yourself coughing this fall, but you also have red, watery eyes, chances are—it’s an allergy, regular cold, or a flu…not the novel coronavirus.
Now, let’s move onto the next common symptom people fear may indicate they have coronavirus…
If you’re sneezing, it’s probably not coronavirus
Over the last few months, I’ve noticed everyone jumps and looks suspiciously at anyone else whenever they sneeze. (I’ve personally experienced this sense of paranoia.)
Sometimes, my sneezing even comes in a sequence, like a double or triple. And that really raises some eyebrows. (If you’re like me and sneeze in a sequence, it may be a sign that your sneezes aren’t as powerful, so it requires repeated attempts to clear.)
But everyone just needs to relax.
According to the CDC, although sneezing can be a sign of a regular cold or the flu, it is NOT a symptom of coronavirus.
If fact, if you’re feeling under the weather and you find yourself sneezing, even if it’s in a sequence, it’s probably a pretty good indicator that you do NOT have coronavirus.
Of course, sneezing does protect you from other microbes. (The nose produces mucus to trap the microbes from getting further into the respiratory tract. Then, sneezing expels the microbes trapped in mucus.) It works the other way around, too: When you sneeze, you expel the trapped microbes into the air around you.
So, this fall, as we begin to see an uptick in regular colds and flu, sneeze into your elbow, with your upper arm around your mouth. (That is, if you’re not already wearing a mask.) But don’t worry about your sneezing being an early symptom of coronavirus!
Practice sensible, science-backed approaches for prevention
Ultimately, the only way to get a true handle on the coronavirus is for all of us to stay informed, control the hysteria, and practice good hygiene. (Indeed, that’s what I always recommend for battling any kind of virus.)
In fact, this past weekend, I went to stock up on supplies at several different locations for the first time in months. And I realized that I was practicing all the simple, sensible hygiene steps that I always practiced anyway—way before the coronavirus panic.
In addition to practicing good hygiene, you can take some practical steps right now to support your overall immunity—including supplementing daily with 10,000 IU of vitamin D. You can learn more about my top immune health recommendations in my Pandemic Protection Playbook: How to become “immune ready” in every season. To gain access this essential guide, click here now!
“Covid-19: Identifying Symptoms.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed 8/25/20. (health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-identifying-the-symptoms.pdf)
“The Science of Crying.” TIME Magazine, 3/16/16. (time.com/4254089/science-crying/#:~:text=Finally%2C%20in%201662%2C%20a%20Danish,that%20springs%20from%20the%20eye.)