Do I Have COVID-19 or Just Seasonal Allergies?

Now that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, symptoms of any kind can be unsettling. And it doesn’t help that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is infecting thousands of people during the start of allergy season. So how can you tell if the symptoms you’re experiencing are those associated with seasonal allergies or COVID-19? While some of the symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with allergies, there are several differences.

What Are the Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies?

Spring allergies begin when plants and trees start to bloom, releasing pollen into the air. Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose and congestion, and itchy eyes. Here are some of the most common symptoms for seasonal allergies:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery and itchy eyes
  • Itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
  • Postnasal drainage
  • Ear congestion

Some of the less common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Headache

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What Are the Symptoms of COVID-19?

While a few of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to some of the symptoms of seasonal allergies, there are key differences that should help you determine what you’re suffering from. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Body aches
  • Very sore throat
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue that comes on quickly
  • Gastrointestinal problems like nausea or diarrhea
  • Loss of taste or smell

If you have these symptoms, especially a fever, call your doctor. If you’re prone to seasonal allergies, pay attention to symptoms that are different from what you normally experience. 

What Are the Symptoms That Are Common to Both Seasonal Allergies and COVID-19?

If you get seasonal allergies every year, you may notice that some of those symptoms are similar to those associated with COVID-19. Sneezing and sniffles aren’t typically associated with COVID-19 but are very common with allergies. Fever isn’t associated with allergies but is a very common symptom of COVID-19. That said, a dry cough and wheezing or difficulty breathing, especially for those with asthma in addition to allergies, are symptoms that are shared by allergies and COVID-19.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have COVID-19?

If you’re experiencing any or all the symptoms of COVID-19 described above, call your doctor. If the symptoms are manageable, you may be asked to recover at home. If you have the following symptoms, you may need to seek emergency care:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Lingering pain in your chest
  • Confusion
  • Bluish lips or face

What Should I Do If I Think I’m Suffering from Seasonal Allergies?

If you either know or think you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, you can do the following to help lessen your symptoms:

  • Take antihistamines. There are many over-the-counter medications you can take when your allergy symptoms flare up. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which options might be best for you.
  • Use nasal spray. Instead of a saline or decongestant spray, ask your pharmacist about a steroid nasal spray, which needs to be taken every day to be effective.
  • Stay inside. Even though getting outside for fresh air and sunshine is enjoyable, you may want to stay inside if your allergy symptoms are flaring up.
  • Get an allergy shot. If antihistamines, nasal spray, and staying inside aren’t helping, talk with your doctor about getting an allergy shot. For shots to be effective, you need to get them regularly for three to five years. These shots, though, aren’t without risk. Some of the issues you may experience can be redness at the injection site, hives, and in rare cases anaphylactic shock.
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More Questions About COVID-19?

If you have more questions or concerns about COVID-19, go to BaptistHealth.com or visit other reputable sites, such as the World Health Organization, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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