COVID or allergies? How to differentiate the two

As we approach spring, that means allergy symptoms will start to appear for many, but it is important to be able to differentiate between COVID-19 and allergies.

In April, allergy season reaches its peak and those experiencing symptoms may worry that they have contracted COVID-19.

But health officials say there are a few things that can help separate them.

“They both have many things in common, both COVID-19 and typical environmental allergies can cause nasal congestion, runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat,” said French Hospital Medical Center Medical Director James Malone.

Since they both have shared symptoms, many may start to worry, but according to Malone, there are some that can differentiate COVID.

“Probably the biggest differences between the two would be fever, a temperature of over 100 degrees. Generally, with allergies, people will not have a fever, “he said.

Other symptoms unique to COVID-19 and not allergies include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Body pain
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

“More of what I am seeing is that it is the patient’s employers who are concerned. You know, they come with a cough or a runny nose and it is complicated because again, yes, you do not want to expose any other employee to a possible case of COVID, but it’s also allergy season, “said Jessica Peckham, Tenet Health Nurse Practitioner.

Peckham says that if you know you’re prone to allergies, there’s a good chance it’s just that.

“So if you think you have allergies and you take your antihistamine and all your symptoms go away, then it’s probably allergies, but if you take that antihistamine and they don’t go away, then it’s an absolute indication that it’s more than just allergies,” he said.

Health officials advise those who may have concerns to see their doctor if they experience any COVID-like symptoms.

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