Coronavirus vs allergy symptoms: experts point out the differences

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread well into the spring, you’re probably watching your health closely. And if you suffer from allergies, you probably expect uncomfortable days throughout the seasons. But right now, even the slightest cough or sneeze could potentially send you into a panic. Fortunately, there are clear differences between allergies and symptoms related to COVID-19. For this guide to coronavirus and allergy symptoms, we’ve reached out to health experts to help reassure you.

Coronavirus symptoms vs allergy symptoms: how to tell them apart.


When it comes to determining whether you have allergy or coronavirus symptoms, the most reliable indicator is the nose, according to Lisa BallerDO, osteopathic doctor and certified practitioner for the Institute of Functional Medicine.

“You probably won’t have a stuffy or runny nose as a symptom of COVID-19,” she says. “However, you may experience a loss of sense of smell as an early symptom. [of COVID-19]. Allergies usually don’t cause loss of smell.”

Allergy symptoms usually manifest as a combination of sneezing, watery eyes, stuffy or runny nose, postnasal drainage, mild cough, and itchy throat.

Subinoy DasMD, Chief Medical Officer Tivic Health and CEO of American Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research, notes that fever and shortness of breath are not usually associated with allergies. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, you should tell your doctor.

“COVID-19 symptoms may include the development of shortness of breath typically five to 10 days after the initial fever develops,” he says. “It can be accompanied by fatigue, sore throat, muscle and joint pain and other symptoms.”

Some patients who tested positive for COVID-19 endured diarrhea, vomiting and nauseawhich are not easily mistaken for allergy symptoms.

Ballehr also explains that allergy sufferers typically experience symptoms over an extended period of time, while new coronavirus symptoms have a fairly rapid onset.

Coronavirus precautions for allergy sufferers.

Sick man looking at a shelf full of drugs

It should be relatively easy to tell your allergy symptoms from something more serious, but keep in mind that people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, which means they don’t have any of the symptoms described here. -above. So while your sneezing could absolutely be the result of allergies, if you’re an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus, you could still be putting others at risk by going out in public.

“If you have allergies, you are more likely to sneeze and are therefore more likely to spread the virus and make someone else sick since COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets,” says Ballehr.

This is why most doctors, including Ballehr and Das, recommend social distancing. Staying home and staying away from people who are not isolated with you in your home is the only way to stop the spread. Ballehr even recommends people with severe allergies not to make essential trips (like to the grocery store or the pharmacy) outside the house if another member of the household can do them instead.

“If you need allergy medication, see if someone else in the house can get it for you,” recommends Ballehr. “Since many people don’t know whether they have the coronavirus or not, it’s best to have a family member (in the low-risk population) go out in public – someone who doesn’t sneeze, to minimize the risk of infecting others.

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