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Cold/Flu Support,  Coronavirus (Covid-19)

COVID-19 Symptoms vs. Seasonal Allergies

Dr. Don Colbert – If you’re sneezing, coughing, rubbing your eyes, have a dry throat, and otherwise irritated respiratory system, you may be worried you’ve contracted COVID-19. Or, this time of year, it may simply be seasonal allergies. There are many commonalities between the two, and it’s important to identify COVID-19 symptoms vs. seasonal allergies as we move forward. But how?

Here are 5 differences between COVID-19 symptoms vs. seasonal allergies. If you’re one of the 10-30% of all adults in the world who suffer from allergic rhinitis (1), give yourself peace of mind by knowing the difference between it and COVID-19 symptoms.

5 Differences Between COVID-19 Symptoms vs. Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal allergies can be incredibly uncomfortable. For most adults, they cause sneezing, coughing, dry throat, and watery or itchy eyes. They can make time outdoors miserable.

Having COVID-19, even a mild case, is not comfortable either. But, the symptoms, duration, and timing of it are different than allergy symptoms (2). Here are 5 key differences:

1. Timing of Symptoms
Allergies symptoms come and go with the seasons and the amount of pollen (or other allergens) in the air. Of course, this timing can vary year to year due to different temperatures and climate, but generally, they occur at the same time of year each year.

COVID-19, on the other hand, causes symptoms about 5-10 days (can be as soon as 2 days and a long as 14) after a person is infected. So, if you go outside on a high-pollen day and start sneezing and coughing, it’s more likely allergies than COVID-19. If symptoms creep up without an obvious immediate cause, it’s more likely COVID-19 or another virus.

2. Fever vs. Non-Fever
Although not every COVID-19 case includes a fever, it’s still a common hallmark symptom of COVID-19. Allergies do not cause fevers. If you have a mild fever, typically around 100 degree F, it’s more likely COVID-19 (or something else) than allergies.

3. History vs. New Symptoms
Most adults who experience seasonal allergies have had them for many years. They have a history of them and can identify the causes each year.

If you are experiencing new symptoms this year, that do not line up with your typical seasonal allergies symptoms, something different is going on.

4. Less Common COVID-19 Symptoms vs. Absence of Symptoms
As we learn more and more about COVID-19 and individual symptoms, we are identifying alternate non-respiratory symptoms. These include headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and less commonly, gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

These are not typical seasonal allergy symptoms. If you are experiencing them, it is more likely COVID-19 or something else than seasonal allergies.

5. Consistency and Duration
For most COVID-19 patients who have symptoms, they feel sick consistently for several days and up to 2 weeks or more. Their symptoms don’t vary with the weather, or whether or not they go outside like seasonal allergy symptoms.

Overlapping Symptoms

Even though there are many differences, the central respiratory symptoms remain the same for both conditions:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • dry throat
  • respiratory tightness or heaviness

If you have any of these symptoms and do not believe they are seasonal allergies, follow the recommendations to reduce the risk of infecting others, especially those who would be high-risk for severe COVID-19.

Allergy Recommendations

If you have seasonal allergies, follow these tips to reduce your symptoms:


Bottom Line

It’s the time of year when millions of Americans begin coughing, sneezing, experiencing itchy eyes, and generally feel attacked by the outdoors. But, is it allergies, or COVID-19? Use the differences listed above to determine the cause of your symptoms. And, of course, follow your local guidelines to stay safe in your community if you’ve contracted COVID-19.

To read the original article click here.
For more articles from Dr. Colbert click here.

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