The itch in the back of your throat: Is it COVID, or something else? Original

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — These days, a scratchy throat or a plugged up sinus can be a cause for concern. These often mild symptoms may now carry with them the gut twisting dread of a potential COVID diagnosis.

But also, they might not.

We have reached the time of year where allergens and viruses of many types are flying around in every direction. Because of this, when you go and get tested for COVID, there is a chance that test may come back negative. But then what?

You may have a cough, a sore throat, congestion, fatigue, drainage or even a fever; all symptoms of COVID-19, so if you don’t have it, then what do you have? We spoke with Dr. Bethany Zeigler, a Family Physician with Sanford Health to find out what’s currently going around in KELOLAND.

“Things that have presentations as COVID would be things like seasonal allergies, your common cold, RSV or I think we’re starting to see some influenza,” Dr. Bethany Zeigler said.

Zeigler says that when it comes to the common cold, there are a lot of different viruses that can cause one.

“One of the most common ones is the Rhinovirus,” she said. “That causes all of those same symptoms — the runny nose, the cough, sometimes you can get fever with it — wheezing.”

These types of viruses can take a few weeks to run their course, according to Zeigler, who added that the cough associated with them can last for weeks following the end of the virus.

“One of the best cough suppressants we have is just honey,” she added. “Taking a spoon full of honey — people find that helpful.” She does note, however that honey should not be given to anyone under one-year-old.

Even if you do find that your illness is not of the COVID variety, it’s still important to take precautions.

“Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds — covering your cough and using Kleenexes or your sleeve,” said Zeigler, listing things people with any illness should do.

She also advised practicing social distance and not sharing drinks and other personal items if you’re feeling ill.

If you are feeling sick and experiencing any of the possible symptoms of COVID-19, Zeigler recommends getting tested.

“It’s better to get tested and to know if you are [COVID positive] so you’re not passing it on to others,” she said.

When it comes to flu season, you can talk to your doctor about when the best time to get the flu vaccine in relation to a COVID-19 vaccine, but Zeigler absolutely advises getting the flu shot as the season progresses.

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