Allergies or COVID-19?

As winter gave way to spring, nature did not give any signs in relation to what the people of the world were going through. As trees and flowers bloomed just like they do every spring, the people accustomed to witnessing the awe-inspiring transformation on display each spring were experiencing a transformation of their own.

Social distancing measures enacted during the COVID-19 outbreak in late-winter 2020 forced many people to stay home, only venturing outside to run routine errands like buying groceries or filling prescriptions. People were urged to stay home to help prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading, and those recommendations included people exhibiting mild symptoms of illness.
As spring hit its stride and pollen counts climbed, many people wondered if certain symptoms they were experiencing were byproducts of seasonal allergies or the COVID-19 virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that it’s easy to mistake common allergy symptoms for COVID-19, and that’s especially so given the level of concern many people have about the novel coronavirus that has already claimed thousands of victims across the globe. But it’s important that people recognize the symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are different. The following are some symptoms of allergies and some of COVID-19, courtesy of the CDC and the Mayo Clinic.

Allergy symptoms
• Itchy eyes
• Stuffy nose
• Sneezing
Doctors advise people who are exhibiting potential allergy symptoms to pay attention to their body temperatures. People with allergies very rarely experience fever, so the absence of fever, even if other symptoms of allergies are present, might indicate that a person is suffering from allergies and not COVID-19. In addition, allergy symptoms tend to be mild and recur year after year around the same time, such as when plants bloom in spring and summer. So if symptoms that are currently present are the same ones a person confronts every year, then he or she is likely suffering from allergies and not COVID-19. People can err on the side of caution by discussing their symptoms and history with their physicians.

Coronavirus symptoms
• Shortness of breath
• Fever
• Cough
Some asthma sufferers experience shortness of breath as a result of allergies, so people with asthma should consider that before assuming they have COVID-19. Discussing shortness of breath with a physician can help asthma sufferers gain more clarity on their condition.

While symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are different, the CDC notes that people suffering from the flu may experience the same symptoms experienced by people with the coronavirus. Symptoms such as fever, fatigue, body aches, and cough can affect both flu and COVID-19 sufferers, so people experiencing these symptoms should contact their physicians.

It’s easy to mistake common allergy symptoms as indicative of the presence of the COVID-19 virus. But the symptoms of each condition are quite different. Learn more at www.cdc.gov.

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