KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s that time of year when it feels like everyone is sick at school, work, and church. Fall seasonal illnesses are upon us. Everywhere you turn it feels like someone is not feeling well or they’re taking time off from school or work to fight symptoms.

“Well, certainly there’s been a pretty significant uptick of COVID, so we’re seeing a lot more people coming down with COVID, as well as a GI bug, you know, it may be like a norovirus, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration. You know, so unfortunately, I think every year when kids go back to school you start to see stuff spreading and then of course they bring it home to the parents,” said Dr. Eric Penniman with Summit Medical Group.

He explained some of the fall season illnesses that are spreading as many are asking, “Is it a cold, allergies, or COVID that I am feeling?”

“It’s a tricky thing and a lot of patients, they wonder, right? And so, as family doctors, we look for clues in general. Allergies tend to have symptoms where you don’t get a fever, you don’t get what we call malaise or that fatigue, and you just feel sick you know,” he said.

There are some symptomatic differences that can help you figure out what illness you have and where to go from there.

“COVID, you’re going to feel like you may be sick. You may run a fever, although we know 20 percent of people with COVID never get a fever. So, fever, you can’t always bank on that, from that standpoint and the presentation of COVID can be very different,” said Penniman.

He said the most important thing you can do is to be considerate of those you will interact with frequently.

“If you could spread it to your dad who is 80 years old, who has COPD, or has heart disease, that could be a life-threatening illness for him. So, it’s very important to kind of just be aware of those around you and make wise decisions regardless of colds, influenza, COVID, RSV, whatever it is, It’s super important that we try to not spread that to other people,” he said.