FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Coughing, sneezing, and having a runny nose or sore throat are all symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and allergies. This can make it hard for you to tell the difference between the three.

University of Arkansas senior, Rachel Sweningson has allergies and has had the flu and COVID at least once.

“So for COVID and the flu, it’s really just a level of exhaustion that I feel,” said Sweningson.

But she still has a tough time knowing what she’s sick with since the symptoms of each are so similar.

“Since I don’t have those indicators sensory-wise for COVID, that is normal, like tastes or smell. Most of the time I have to go to the doctor specifically and get a test. Whether or not I think it’s probably the flu or it’s probably COVID because I just don’t know,” said Sweningson.

Doctor Blake Hansen is a family physician with simplified health. He says COVID and the flu can both cause fever, cough, body aches, and headaches, which makes it harder to tell the difference.

“With COVID, we’ve been seeing a lot of like head congestion that is not enough to distinguish between the two. Really. You’re going to unfortunately need to be tested,” said Hansen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25 percent of adults have a seasonal allergy. Hansen says for allergies you’ll see the same symptoms as a cold, like a runny nose, watery eyes, and an itchy throat.

“Around March or April. Usually, I can tell because there’s a lot of buildup in my sinuses or just feelings of drainage and sore throat, but nothing that usually drains too much energy,” said Hansen.

U of A student Connor Maurer says he gets allergies around the same time of the year.

“Tea with honey. Ginger tea with honey is my home remedy,” said Maurer.

He says that concoction helps him feel better, but it’s no match for the flu.

“But when I had the flu this last winter, I noticed I was very fatigued. I didn’t want to get out of bed, very groggy throughout the day. It was very the distinction between my energy with the two is clear,” said Maurer.

No matter your symptoms, Doctor Hansen recommends you get tested so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.

“Check in with yourself. Am I starting to have some symptoms? And I started to feel a certain way and get evaluated quickly,” said Hansen.

He also encourages you to distance yourself from others when you aren’t feeling well.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, walk-in flu shots will be available at local health units across the state starting September 26.