So You Think You Have a Cold or Allergies?

COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing serious disease from SARS-CoV2 infection. The highly transmissible Delta variant, though, has proven capable of causing infection even in fully vaccinated persons. And fully vaccinated persons who become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 are contagious and capable of transmitting the virus to others who may be less protected. Thankfully, the overwhelming majority of fully vaccinated persons who develop COVID-19 will be asymptomatic or will experience a very mild syndrome with symptoms similar to allergies or the common cold.

fever • chills • cough • shortness of breath • sore throat
muscle or body aches • headache • new loss of taste or smell
fatigue • congestion or runny nose • vomiting • diarrhea

If you can catch a common cold, you can catch COVID, because these viruses transmit the same way (primarily via respiratory droplets) and because the currently circulating Delta variant is extraordinarily contagious. It may be extremely tempting to disregard mild symptoms, especially if you have been vaccinated, but this would be irresponsible. Please remember that, even if you do not get terribly ill from COVID-19 yourself, you could transmit the disease to a more vulnerable person (a child who is not yet old enough to be eligible for vaccination, a nonagenarian whose vaccine-induced immunity has diminished, or a person with cancer who was unable to mount a strong immune response following vaccination, for example). As we wait out this dangerous era of the pandemic, please don’t risk the health and safety of those around you.

If you start to feel a bit under the weather and suspect that you may have a cold, allergies, or even the flu, you need to quarantine, and (probably) get tested for COVID.