The threat of contracting COVID-19 has prompted many to seek testing at the first symptoms of a common cold during the last year, and as the country progressively reopens, the likelihood of coming into touch with someone with a summer cold has risen.

How can you determine whether you’re suffering from the sniffles or something more serious?

Dr. LeRoy Essig, a specialist of pulmonary disease at Columbus’ OhioHealth Physician Group, discussed the beginnings of a summer cold and how it differs from COVID-19in many important aspects.

He said that a summer cold is identical to a winter cold and added that although coronaviruses and rhinoviruses are more prevalent in the winter, they are also present in the summer, making it conceivable to get one.

Colds are also spread through droplets produced by coughing or sneezing, but they may also be contracted by touching infected surfaces and then contacting your own mouth, nose or ear.

Symptoms are usually similar to those of normal winter cold and include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and occasionally tiredness, body pains, or an infrequent fever, many of which are also associated with COVID-19. Symptoms of Covid-19 and Colds have a similar duration of approximately one to two weeks, which may make them difficult to distinguish.

However, there are some indicators that are too often associated with either one that may help alleviate your concerns.

Essig said that loss of smell or taste is more prevalent with COVID-19, particularly if it happens in congestion’s absence. Bowel symptoms such as diarrhea are also more indicative of COVID-19 than a summertime cold, as is the difficulty of breath which may indicate that COVID-19 is worsening.

According to Essig, there are two critical factors to consider. To begin, if you get ill and have been in close proximity to someone who has COVID-19, the chance that you have COVID-19 rises. However, if you get ill and are already completely inoculated against COVID-19, it significantly reduces the likelihood that it is COVID-19 — it is not impossible, but it is much less probable.

If you’ve been exposed to someone and develop symptoms of your own, Essig advises contacting a physician or obtaining a COVID-19 testing to verify or clear out a diagnosis.

And, although the CDC has already issued a warning about an increase in RSV cases, others are predicting that there may also be an increase in colds, but Essig said it’s difficult to forecast since nobody knows for certain.