COVID-19 vs runny nose allergy symptoms

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DENVER (KDVR / WATE) – Fall has officially arrived and with it comes seasonal allergies. Whether it’s coughing, sneezing, and even scratching your throat, how can you tell the difference between your allergies and COVID-19?

The answer may not be as simple as it sounds. The easiest way to determine the difference is to take a COVID-19 test.

According to Dr. Flavia Hoyte, allergist at National Jewish Health, “Most people with allergies know what their allergies look like and when they tend to peak.

Fever doesn’t come with allergies, so if you have one, it could be the first sign you might want to get tested for COVID-19. Experts warn that you can also be sick with COVID-19 and not have a fever, however.

“Almost identical” symptoms

As we move into fall, parents bracing for the usual threats of colds and flu must now be on the lookout for COVID-19 and RSV cases in parts of the country.

“It’s really hard for parents to tell the difference between seasonal allergies, colds and potentially the COVID virus and how it affects kids,” East Tennessee Children’s Hospitals chief medical officer told WATE, the Dr Joe Childs. “The symptoms between RSV and other viruses, even COVID, are almost identical. “

Dr Childs said that the number of COVID-19 and RSV cases remains high, “we see all these other respiratory viruses that we are used to seeing in the winter right now because over the winter , we just haven’t seen it. . With people much more separated, no world travel, masks used a lot more, it just protected us from having this kind of season while we protected ourselves against COVID-19. “

Now, the changing seasons have some people worried about whether their sniffles are due to fall allergies or something more serious.

“At the start of the fall pollen season, which is particularly weeds that are pollinating right now, if you are particularly susceptible, avoid being outdoors as much as possible until you have passed this period. pollination, ”Childs said.

As a first step in protecting yourself and your children, Childs recommends testing when an immediate family member becomes ill.

Childs said social distancing, masking, and hand washing are always the best practices to avoid getting sick, but if you cough, “Anytime a family member is suffering from respiratory symptoms, they should avoid anything. close contact with the youngest child.

He adds that right now is the best time to get your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven’t already, but the flu shot can wait. “The protection you want from the flu shot, it would be better to wait until the flu gets here to get that protection.”

Finally, he says, if you’re feeling sick, your first call should be your primary care provider. Doctors say that when it comes to allergies, antihistamines can be very effective. Monoclonal antibody infusions are also effective for people with COVID-19 who are at high risk and over 12 years of age.

Symptoms of allergies

These are the common symptoms of allergies, according to National Jewish Health:

  • Itchy, watery and / or red eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Post-nasal secretions
  • sneezing
  • Itchy skin

Some allergy symptoms, like nasal congestion or runny nose, can also be symptoms of viral infections such as a cold or COVID-19.

Allergies usually don’t affect the lungs, but can trigger asthma in people with allergic asthma. Allergies also don’t usually cause a fever or extreme fatigue, according to National Jewish Health.

Symptoms of COVID-19


According to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:

  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Conjunctivitis (also called red eyes)
  • Sore throat,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Different types of rashes,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Chills or dizziness.

Symptoms of severe COVID-19 disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Confusion,
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest,
  • High temperature (over 38 ° C).

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Irritability,
  • Confusion,
  • Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • More serious and rare neurological complications such as stroke, brain inflammation, delirium, and nerve damage.

This list does not include all possible symptoms.


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