SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As we head into fall, it’s time to start thinking about cold and flu season. But of course, there is a new player in this game: COVID. We sit down with doctors from Avera and Sanford to answer your questions about how we deal with COVID-19 moving forward.

Dr. Chad Thury practices family medicine and says he is seeing an increase in COVID cases.
We wanted to know how to tell the difference between a cold and COVID.

“It’s really hard to tell the difference and so what I would tell people is the only way to know is to test,” said Thury.

The loss of taste or smell is no longer a symptom of the new variants. Dr. Mike Wilde says the latest variant appears to focus on the respiratory system.

“Nasal runny nose, sore throat, very typical stuff. Headache, maybe a low fever, cough tend to be the most common symptoms,” Wilde said.

Wilde encourages people to get tested or use home testing kits if they suspect they have COVID.

“If you do have that information and you do have COVID, and you have it early, it gives you some good options,” said Wilde.

Those treatment options include prescription medications like Paxlovid which has shown to be effective. Testing positive still means time away from work and family.

“So the guidelines are still if you test positive for COVID is to still isolate for five days, so that means you want to be away from people. You don’t want to be in situations where you can spread it to others, and for five days after that, wear a mask if you are around people,” Thury said.

Should you get vaccinated? Both doctors say yes, even if you are healthy, but you can check with your individual doctor.

“Typically, whether it is COVID or any illness, we want to take advantage of that work time that allows for time off. If you are, you will spread that to others, not just COVID but other things as well,” Wilde said.

“I tell my patients, for myself, I get vaccinated not because of my risk of dying or being hospitalized from COVID; it’s because I don’t want to be out of work for a week,” said Thury. “I don’t want my kids to be out of school for a week. And so for that, the reason I vaccinate for COVID, influenza, that type of stuff.”

We asked Dr. Wilde a series of questions about COVID-19 including symptoms of the latest variants, should you test for the virus still and about boosters. Watch his responses in the video player below.

The Federal Health Emergency was declared over four months ago. Reporting protocols are no longer supported, which makes it more difficult to track the virus. However, most tools, like vaccines, treatments, and testing, remain readily available.