top of page

We’ve all been there; you wake up with a stuffy nose and sore throat and your brain immediately starts running through the possibilities of what you’ve come down with. Is it your allergies, a cold, the flu, RSV, or COVID-19? They share many of the same symptoms, it’s hard to tell. Let the Googling begin!!


To help settle some of the confusion, below is a comparison chart that shows common respiratory illness and the symptoms typically associated with it.  


Here’s a general rundown. . .




Although seasonal and environmental allergies are not caused by a virus, they have similar effects on the body. With comparable symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and cough, it’s common to mistake allergies with a cold or COVID-19. The major differences between allergies and respiratory illnesses are that allergies are not contagious and can last months or be present year-round.


Respiratory Viruses


The common cold, the flu, COVID-19, and RSV are all contagious respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Colds are usually caused by rhinoviruses, COVID-19 is caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the flu is caused by the influenza virus, and RSV is caused by the respiratory syncytial virus.  Because of their similar transmission, the same everyday preventive actions can help to minimize the spread of their germs. 


While no measure completely stops the spread of air borne viruses, Motion Bodywork complies with the Clean Air In Buildings Challenge by using air purification units with HEPA filters and an air exchange system that changes the air inside the office 5 times per hour. Each time the entry door is open, fresh air from the indoor atrium enters the office space. Additionally, door handles and face cradles, and other touched surfaces are wiped down with a tuberculocidal disinfectant designed to kill the viruses associated with these common respiratory illnesses. Upon request, I can wear an N-95 mask during your session. 


  • Colds usually start 2 to 3 days after the virus enters the body and symptoms last from several days to several weeks.  Cold symptoms rarely reach fevers above 101, so check your temperature.  No signs of a headache and a low-grade or no fever may be a good indicator that you are experiencing the common cold. Keep in mind you are contagious the first 3 days of cold symptoms. If you’re not feeling better after a week, a visit to your Primary can help ensure that you have not developed a bacterial infection, such as sinus or ear infection.


  • Flu season occurs in the fall and winter, with February being the peak month.  Typically, people experience symptoms anywhere from one to four days after being infected with the virus.  Flu symptoms most often include cold symptoms plus fever, body aches, and fatigue. Symptoms tend to come on quickly, are more severe than the common cold, and tend to slowly improve over 2 to 5 days.  However, it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more. Getting vaccinated can possibly lower the severity of your symptoms. 


  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, fever, and sometimes loss of taste or smell. Some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches as well.  If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, testing is the best way to rule it in or out. Getting vaccinated can help lower the severity of symptoms. BEING VACCINATED DOES NOT STOP YOU FROM GETTING OR SPREADING COVID-19 or its variants.  Medical experts consistently report those who are fully vaccinated experience much more mild symptoms compared to those who are unvaccinated.


  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that can cause cold-like symptoms in children and adults. Although the virus is usually mild, it can cause complications like bronchiolitis, inflammation of the lung’s airways, and pneumonia, an infection in the lungs. Infants and the elderly are more at risk for developing severe symptoms.  RSV cases increase during flu and cold season, and like COVID-19 and the flu, there is a vaccine for RSV.



If you are feeling any of these symptoms – STAY HOME! Even if you are feeling better in a few days, it’s important to know that the contagious period of each of these respiratory viruses varies between 3 to 7 days from the onset of symptoms.  


If necessary, appointments can be rescheduled via the online scheduler or by texting.  Remember, you can also give your appointment time to a family member or friend. 


Know what else you can do to prepare for cold and flu season? Get a massage!! Research has shown that receiving regular massage therapy helps boost our immune system and flush toxins, increasing blood flow throughout the body. Massage also increases the activity of white blood cells that help our body fight diseases and may help with the reduction of cortisol. 

bottom of page