Vaccines, the Common Cold, & More: What You Need to Know About COVID-19

Vaccines, the Common Cold, & More: What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Now

Keeping up with the latest guidelines and suggestions regarding COVID-19 can feel like a full-time job. Determining the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe is vital as the world navigates the ongoing ramifications of COVID-19’s global impact. 

Coronavirus Updates and Challenges

Knowing how best to protect yourself against COVID-19 and support your community’s fight against the virus involves staying up-to-date on all COVID-19 recommendations and news. From the clinical trials evaluating vaccine efficacy to determining which vaccine is best for you and any medical conditions you might have, it can be difficult to determine which recommendations apply to you and which do not. 

We have compiled the latest in coronavirus recommendations and data to help synthesize the course of action currently being recommended by health authorities and governing bodies

Coronavirus Variants

In recent months, several variants of the original COVID-19 virus have emerged. COVID-19 variants are to be expected; all viruses eventually evolve and develop new strains to more effectively replicate and continue to spread

Unfortunately, the variants that have emerged have proven more readily transmissible and pose a more substantial hazard than initial strains. The current variant of concern is the Delta variant, which is considered of some concern to public health in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vaccine Efficacy

There are 3 widely distributed vaccines that have been developed for the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. include the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (a single-dose vaccine) and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (both double-dose vaccines). These vaccines have proven to be effective enough to receive emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration. 

Information about the immune system’s long-term uptake of coronavirus vaccine technology is ongoing and emerging. Still, studies continue to support a high vaccination status as the best possible deterrent against the virus. Fully vaccinated people continue to enjoy a much less severe illness, even in “breakthrough” cases or cases where the virus is able to replicate in the body in spite of a vaccine. 

Continuing Health Barriers

Barriers to public health include knowing what measures to follow and how long to follow them. This is an issue that has plagued public health initiatives from the beginning, as different government agencies have had different messages, depending on the state, county, and city in which individuals live. 

In some areas, for instance, health care professionals urged and successfully campaigned to have mask mandates placed and enforced, in addition to limiting building capacity and strictly enforcing quarantine measures. In others, policies were far more lax

Mixed messages and uncertainty regarding ideal health policies continue to be one of the most significant barriers to health in the fight against coronavirus. 

Coronavirus Symptoms and Signs

If you are exhibiting symptoms and signs of coronavirus, it is important to get tested. Knowing what qualifies as a symptom of COVID-19 and what qualifies as a symptom of the flu, a cold, or another respiratory illness can be difficult, which can make appropriately quarantining or recovering for 14 days difficult, as well. 

What are the major differences between COVID-19 and the common cold? 

COVID-19 vs the Common Cold

Knowing the likelihood of having COVID-19 instead of a simple cold can be difficult. Differing levels of severity can obscure the likelihood of a virus-infected person being infected by a common cold or COVID-19. The symptoms that COVID-19 and the common cold share include the following: 

  • Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal discharge
  • Cough

Fortunately, there are some symptoms of COVID-19 that continue to present in people that deviate from standard cold symptoms, the most significant of which are fever and shortness of breath. While colds can cause shortness of breath and a low-grade fever, difficulty breathing and high fever are highly uncommon and may be a more likely indicator of a COVID-19 infection or influenza. 

When to Call Your Doctor

Knowing the symptoms of COVID-19 can help you determine when you should speak to your doctor. Symptoms of the common cold and COVID-19 symptoms intersect in numerous areas, especially in the Delta variant; tell-tale signs such as headache and loss of taste and smell are not as common in this variant, making identification more difficult. 

If you experience symptoms of coronavirus and the common cold (sore throat, coughing, congestion, and nasal drip), along with more flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, chills, and even joint pain, it is important to contact your health care team and determine next steps. 

Current Testing and Prevention Guidelines

Guidelines continue to change and evolve as the COVID-19 pandemic changes and evolves. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases regular changes and updates to policies and recommendations. This is done to keep people apprised of the best possible way to prevent transmission of and infection with the novel coronavirus

Mask Requirements and Suggestions

Although the CDC previously released guidance encouraging vaccinated individuals to begin moving about unmasked, recent guidelines have encouraged even vaccinated people to continue to wear a mask indoors in areas with high infection rates or high transmission rates. 

When to Get a Test

Individuals who are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 should get a test. These include people who are not vaccinated and have recently attended a large event or traveled in an enclosed space, people who have recently been exposed to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, and anyone who displays symptoms of the virus. After getting a test, practice safe distancing and masking procedures until you receive the results of your test

Where to Get a Vaccine

Vaccines are available in most major pharmacies and grocery stores. The standard of care is the most significant difference in these areas; large chain pharmacies may not have the time or availability to discuss the side effects and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine

Smaller pharmacies, such as Carolina Pharmacy, are often a better option for vaccine delivery. Independent pharmacies are equipped to provide patients with a focused, one-on-one approach to vaccine administration, designed to put you at ease and answer any questions or concerns you might have about receiving the COVID-19 immunization

As you can see in the video below, demand for COVID-19 vaccines and tests has been on the rise in the Charlotte area. Carolina Pharmacy is here to help you get the treatment you need.

Vaccines, the Common Cold, & More: What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Now

Watch video here.

Carolina Pharmacy Is Here to Help

Although we have been living with the novel coronavirus for well over a year, there is still much that is not known about COVID-19. Carolina Pharmacy is home to staff members who are passionate about supporting health and patient education. If you have any questions or concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine in Charlotte, Lancaster, and Rock Hill and understanding which vaccine is right for you, do not hesitate to reach out to us today!

COVID, or Allergies? How to Tell the Difference

Seasonal allergies vs. COVID-19

If you suffer from allergies, you may feel more reasons for concern this year than in seasons past.

This time last year, we would have raised eyebrows learning our reality would become cocooning ourselves away from each other, wearing protective face masks when daring to venture outside for milk and eggs, and disinfecting everything in sight. Indeed, it’s bizarre to step outside the house and right away fight the urge to sneeze, fearing a skeptical side-eye from other passersby. And if you’re prone to seasonal allergies, you may be concerned about either causing distress to others or, more seriously, whether you may have the COVID-19 virus.

That said, there are some symptomatic differences to note between COVID-19 and those pesky allergies.

Knowing how to spot their distinctions should bring you some peace of mind. The key is watching for variations that stray from your typical seasonal allergies. So, during this pollen-brushed time of year, here’s how to distinguish COVID-19 symptoms from those caused by spring allergies.

How are COVID-19 and allergies similar?

Because both conditions appear to resemble each other, it’s understandable how both sets of symptoms get confused for one another. COVID-19 and allergies affect the respiratory system: allergies can cause inflammation in the lungs, while the coronavirus can affect either the upper respiratory tract (sinuses, nose, and throat) or lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs).

Signs of the coronavirus that resemble those of allergies can include cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, congestion, or runny nose.

How are the symptoms different?

Allergy sufferers may breathe with difficulty due to congestion, but they shouldn’t have shortness of breath or fever unless they have asthma. They’re also more prone to sinus pressure rather than the pain of a headache.

As we’ve learned, the virus has multiple symptoms: fever, chills, muscle and body aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These could betray several different ailments, including the common cold, the flu, or a stomach virus. None of these, however, overlap with allergy signs.

In the wintertime, an ongoing question floated throughout the season of how to differentiate signs of COVID-19 from those of the flu. Just the same, specialists advised watching for that same stand-out symptom: loss of taste or smell.

When should I seek medical attention to determine if I may have COVID-19?

  • Your allergies aren’t improving after taking over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays, eye drops, and/or allergy prescriptions after 3-4 days, and your symptoms are worsening.
  • You’ve developed additional symptoms, such as a significant headache, fever, cough, decreased sense of taste or smell, or gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting.
  • You’re experiencing both allergy and/or COVID-19-like symptoms
  • You’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19


Trying to figure whether you might have COVID-19 or simply allergies can be a headache – but it doesn’t have to be. Learn to spot the symptoms that stand out from the usual allergy giveaways – loss of smell or taste, shortness of breath, and headache -, and you’ll be able to spot the difference.

However, if you are experiencing symptoms, we advise following the CDC guidelines of staying home unless to seek medical care and wash your hands regularly.

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