AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — With the FLU, COVID, the common cold, and other illnesses circulating it could be hard to tell the difference. Texas Tech Physicians Family Medicine physician, Dr. Rodeny Young said it is usually difficult for people to tell the difference in these illnesses. He added that this is because a lot of the symptoms tend to overlap. Dr. Young said that one way to spot the difference is by noting how severe the symptoms are.

“In general, it’s not a perfect characterization but the symptoms are often times more severe with covid or flu. With flu it often times hits us pretty abruptly from feeling relatively well to quite unwell over a period of hours,” Dr. Young said. “So, if you have the certain onset of significant sorriness, dry cough, start to get a pretty significant temperature associated with that those might be markers of picking up the flu.”

He added that these patterns can also be seen with COVID but it is uncommon for the common cold to show this pattern of severe symptoms.

“The first message is that no amount of explanation that I can give can tell you 100 percent that this is a cold, this is the flu, or this is covid. The good news is when you have an illness that severe enough that symptoms that warrant seeking care, we do have some pretty reliable point of care tests that will point us to things like covid and influenza,” he said.

Dr. Young said that if you begin to feel in of these symptoms it is important to take the necessary steps such as covering your cough, beginning social distancing, and also wearing a mask. According to Dr. Young, these illnesses can typically be treated with over-the-counter medication but here are some severe causes.

“If you have the ability to get to your regular provider to be evaluated when you have severe symptoms like that is probably the place to start. If you are particularly short of breath or in distress and you can’t take a chance on waiting for an appointment that’s why we have urgent care centers and emergency centers.”

Dr. Young encouraged the community to get vaccinated for covid along with the flu. He said that although these vaccines do not prevent covid and flu they could help reduce the severity of your illness.