Alert

What's the Difference? Allergies, Cold, Flu, Coronavirus

UNC Health Talk and Dana Neutze, MD, PhD, associate medical director of the UNC Family Medicine Center, help explain the different symptoms of allergies, cold, flu and coronavirus.

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Symptoms and Next Steps COVID-19

What Should I do if I have Symptoms Similar to Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath and have traveled recently should contact the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline (828-694-8048) between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for guidance on symptom management and next steps.

If you’re experiencing a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

For general questions, call the UNC Health COVID-19 Helpline at 1-888-850-2684 or the North Carolina Coronavirus Hotline at 1-866-462-3821. All residents are encouraged to continue to follow the precautions offered by the CDC to protect themselves and others from the spread of all respiratory illness, including flu and COVID-19.

Additionally, you should:

  • Stay home from work, school, and away from other public places. If you must go out, avoid using any kind of ride-sharing, taxis, or public transportation.
  • People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.
  • Call the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline (828-694-8048) before visiting your doctor
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid sharing household items like towels, dishes, utensils, etc.
  • Clean all high-touch surfaces every day like counter tops, handles, etc every day.

If you have shortness of breath or a cough that is not related to seasonal allergies (read more about allergy symptoms), you can also view the coronavirus symptom checker from the CDC that will lead you through some questions to determine if you need medical follow-up.

UNC Health also offers virtual urgent care through its UNC Urgent Care 24/7 virtual consultation service for non-emergency medical issues. Go to www.UNCUrgentCare247.com.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we will continue to update our patient screening process, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the epidemiological experts on our staff. We need to conserve limited resources, including tests and protective equipment like N-95 masks.

As most patients with coronavirus have mild to moderate symptoms, it is not necessary or possible for everyone to be tested for coronavirus. Visiting a doctor’s office or urgent care before you have been screened could increase your risk of exposure. Help us save our resources for people who are most likely to get very sick from coronavirus (read more about those at risk). If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath and have traveled recently should contact the Pardee COVID-19 Helpline (828-694-8048) between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for guidance on symptom management and next steps.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Treatment

  • Treatment for mild cases is to stay home and treat symptoms. About 80% of patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate illness, and can be managed at home.
  • If you test positive with COVID-19, it is important to stay home and to slow the spread, as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are the most at risk.
Children

What Parents and Families Need to Know

Find out what experts are recommending for parents to help keep your family healthy, as well as what to do if your child has symptoms similar to coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Seniors

Older Adults and High Risk Patients

Older adults and patients with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk from coronavirus (COVID-10) and need to take extra precautions.

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