Allergies vs COVID: How To Tell The Difference
Allergies vs COVID
Differences between allergies and COVID
If you have symptoms, such as a fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea or if your symptoms are getting worse overtime, you should contact a healthcare professional and get tested for COVID-19.
On the other hand...
If you're experiencing an itchy nose, sinus congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and an overproduction of mucus in the nose and throat, you're most likely suffering from allergies.
With hay fever season just around the corner, many seasonal allergy sufferers are starting to wonder whether an itchy nose is a sign of COVID. For some people, a runny nose, congestion, a dry cough and a sore throat around this time of year are clear signs that they should visit a pharmacy and top up on allergy treatments, eye drops, and tissues.
For others, however, that itchy nose may cause distress and worry over fears of COVID-19. And for good reason, too! The coronavirus and seasonal allergies share a few symptoms in common that could easily be overlooked. For those with no history of hay fever or pollen allergies, it’s wise to express concern and get tested for COVID-19.[*][*]
In fact, many doctors are telling people to get tested for COVID if they are unsure what is causing their symptoms.[*][*][*] That’s because some people are confusing their symptoms with seasonal allergies, and are unknowingly spreading the virus to others before getting diagnosed. Furthermore, by not getting tested and treated, COVID sufferers are also putting themselves at greater danger of becoming more seriously ill and even hospitalized.[*][*]
How Do I Know If I Have Allergies or COVID?
Although there are some similarities in symptoms, there are also some key indicators that can help determine whether you have COVID or allergies. Nevertheless, if you’re experiencing any COVID related symptoms, including a runny nose, congestion, or a cough, and you think you’ve been exposed to the virus, you should self-isolate and contact a healthcare professional to get tested.
Allergies and A Fever?
Allergy sufferers typically don’t develop a fever, unless an infection sets in and progresses into sinusitis. COVID-19 patients, however, often do experience a fever along with other symptoms associated with the virus.[*][*]
If you’re experiencing the onset of a fever in combination with symptoms, such as a runny nose, chills or muscle aches, and a headache, you should self-isolate and contact a healthcare professional immediately. Even if you suspect your fever is the result of sinusitis, you should contact a physician to see if medication is required to stop the infection.[*][*]
COVID and Post Nasal Drip?
COVID-19 patients don’t typically experience an overproduction of mucus in the throat (often referred to as “post nasal drip”). On the other hand, seasonal allergy sufferers (including those who suffer from hay fever and other types of fall allergies) often report excessive mucus in the sinuses and throat, along with sinus pressure and congestion.[*]
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 tends to produce a dry cough, typically without post nasal drip symptoms or sinus congestion. If you’re suddenly experiencing a dry cough along with other COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, chills, muscle aches, or a shortness of breath, you should self-isolate and contact your doctor to arrange for a COVID test.[*]
COVID Headache or Allergy Headache?
It’s important to note that everyone experiences pain and headaches in a different way, but there are some commonalities in the reported experiences. With the seriousness of COVID-19, we emphasize that if you suspect or have concern that you may have come in contact with the coronavirus that you contact a healthcare professional to be tested.
Both allergy sufferers and COVID-19 patients report headaches. But there are some key differences between the reported experiences that may help you identify which type of headache you could have.
What Does An Allergy Headache Feel Like?
Headaches related to seasonal allergies or hay fever are typically located around the nose, eyes, and forehead. Allergy headaches are often associated with sinus pressure and congestion.[*] And they are often described as mild to moderate. However, it’s also important to note that migraine type headaches are sometimes reported as a symptom of allergies, especially if a sinus infection sets in.[*][*][*]
What Does A COVID Headache Feel Like?
COVID headaches are often described as more severe. Patients usually report a pulsing pain over the entire head with more of a focus near the forehead. In addition, headaches in COVID patients tend to feel similar to migraine headaches but without the light and sound sensitivity being a triggering factor. COVID headaches are commonly accompanied by a fever, chills, muscles aches, and nausea. Other symptoms to watch for are difficulty breathing, a loss of taste and smell, and weakness and fatigue.[*][*][*]
List of COVID Symptoms
Here’s a list of common symptoms and signs commonly associated with COVID-19 according to The World Health Organization:
Commonly reported symptoms:
- dry cough
Additionally reported symptoms:
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- a rash on skin, or discoloration of fingers or toes
More serious symptoms could include “difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. If you have any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.”[*]
Please, seek medical advice if you think you have COVID-19. It’s important for you and other you’ve been in contact with to self-isolate and get tested as soon as possible. For more information, visit the World Health Organization or your State government website for details and statistics.