Coughing: Is It COVID-19, Flu, Cold, RSV, or Allergies?

Features of COVID cough: How to tell the difference

A cough is one of the hallmark symptoms of COVID-19. But a cough is also a typical symptom of many other conditions, including the flu, the common cold, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and seasonal allergies.

If you’re coughing, you may wonder how you can tell whether it’s due to COVID-19 or a different condition. This article will look at some ways you may be able to tell the difference.

What does COVID-19 cough feel and sound like?

Research published in 2021 tried to study the sounds a person makes to determine whether they can detect COVID-19 via cough.

They were able to tell the difference between a person who coughs to, for example, clear their throat versus someone who coughs because they have an illness. But there isn’t a way to definitively diagnose COVID-19 by cough sound detection, according to a 2022 study.

About two-thirds of coughs related to COVID-19 are dry coughs that don’t produce mucus. This means that most coughs are going to be dry and hacking. With dry cough, it’s often hard to stop coughing once you start.

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Still, you may sometimes cough up mucus when you have COVID-19.

These characteristics differ from a “normal” cough, where your body is trying to get rid of some kind of irritant. Such coughs are usually self-limiting and won’t continue throughout the day.

Can an app detect COVID-19 cough?

New artificial intelligence (AI) technology may be able to distinguish COVID-19 cough from other types of cough, according to 2020 researchTrusted Source. Users of an AI app can submit cough sounds, which the app compares to a large database. Results are available within 2 minutes.

While this tool can’t make a clinical diagnosis, it can help people and doctors more effectively screen for COVID-19. Clinical trials are underway to help develop this technology …

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