Doctor explains how to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms
Thursday, September 23, 2021
With the onset of fall and another round of seasonal allergies, doctors are once again warning against confusing an allergic reaction with a COVID-19 infection.
Dr. Casey Mabry, of Ascension St. Agnes Health in Maryland, said irritating allergy symptoms can linger, but the underlying causes — summer vs. fall — differ.
“It’s hard to prevent allergies, but you can definitely limit your exposure,” Mabry said. “Spring and summer allergies tend to be grass and flowers while the trees are blooming. Fall is a bit different. It tends to be dust and mold.”
Now add to the COVID-19 mix with symptoms like coughing, congestion and a general feeling of bad weather while crossing.
But there is an essential difference.
“Allergies will never cause a fever. If you have a fever, you can’t blame it on your allergies. Please get tested for COVID,” Mabry said.
Mabry said another way to put it is to be honest with yourself: Are the symptoms you’re experiencing something you’ve seen before or something new?
“If you have any new allergies this year, they’re probably not allergies. If all of a sudden you have congestion and a sore throat, and you’re not feeling well in the fall , but you’ve never had this before, maybe do a test,” Mabry said.
Also, keep in mind that itching often accompanies allergies, much like a loss of taste or smell accompanies COVID-19.
“It’s tricky because we don’t see as much loss of smell with the delta variant, but still, if you lose your sense of smell, that’s definitely a lot more concerning,” Mabry said.
Mabry said to stay hydrated and wear face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. Also be sure to wash the masks to avoid more allergies this fall.
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