Is It Allergies or COVID?
Spring is coming, which means seasonal allergies are right around the corner. While allergies are always inconvenient, the COVID-19 pandemic has produced additional stress surrounding this annual annoyance.
It’s not unreasonable to worry that sniffling or developing a sore throat might be the beginning of a COVID-19 infection. Anxiety and uncertainty surrounding your symptoms are to be expected.
To make things easier on you this spring season, let’s explore whether your symptoms indicate common allergies or if they may indicate that you have COVID.
How do I know if I have allergies or COVID?
Determining whether your symptoms are related to allergies or COVID-19 requires a bit of patience and reflection on past seasons.
If you’re feeling symptoms around the same time this year as you did in prior years, this may be a good indicator that you’re experiencing typical seasonal allergies. You may also assume that you have allergies if taking medications for seasonal allergies tends to provide relief.
You’ll also want to track the progression of how you feel. Allergies tend to affect specific systems and cause only a narrow range of symptoms. COVID-19, on the other hand, worsens as the days pass. One day, you might be congested and have a mild cough, but more severe symptoms develop as the infection sets in.
Symptoms of Allergies vs. COVID
Feeling sick can have you worried about whether you have allergies or COVID, but monitoring the symptoms you’re experiencing might help ease your mind or confirm your need to visit a doctor.
While some symptoms of both health issues overlap, there are significant differences between symptoms of allergies and symptoms of COVID.
Symptoms of allergies often include:
- Congestion or runny nose
- Dry or watery eyes
- Sore throat and/or cough
COVID-19 symptoms include those mentioned above but commonly come with additional issues like:
- Trouble breathing
- Body aches
- Digestive problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Loss of taste or smell
Do I have COVID or allergies?
If you’re only experiencing common allergy symptoms, it’s unlikely that you have COVID. Yet, if you’re experiencing some or most of the symptoms associated with COVID, you may only have the flu.
The only way to know whether you have allergies, the flu, or COVID-19 is to get tested for the virus. You can get tested at a hospital, doctor’s office, or at home if you buy an at-home test at a drug store.
If testing reveals that you’re positive for a COVID-19 infection, it’s important to stay home and isolate yourself from others during the contagious period. Monitor your symptoms and get as much rest as you can. Should your symptoms become serious (ex: struggling to breathe, lips turning blue, extreme weakness), call your medical provider or visit the nearest hospital to receive COVID-19 treatment.