Doctor explains how to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms


Thursday 23 September 2021

With the onset of fall and another round of seasonal allergies, doctors are once again warning of confusing an allergic reaction and infection with COVID-19.

Dr Casey Mabry, of Ascension St. Agnes Health Primary Care, said irritating allergy symptoms may persist, but the causes behind them – summer versus fall – differ.

“It’s hard to prevent allergies, but you can definitely limit your exposure,” Mabry said. “Spring and summer allergies tend to be caused by grass and flowers while the trees are blooming. Fall is a little different. It tends to be dust and mold.”

Now add to the mix COVID-19 with symptoms like cough, congestion, and a general feeling of bad weather while going through.

But there is one key difference.

“Allergies will never cause a fever. If you have a fever, you can’t blame that 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 are experiencing something that you have seen before or something new?

“If you have any new allergies this year, they probably aren’t allergies. If all of a sudden you have a congestion and a sore throat, and you don’t feel well in the fall, but you’ve never had this before, maybe get a test, “a Mabry said.

Also, keep in mind that itching is often accompanied by allergies, just as 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, definitely, if you lose your sense of smell it’s definitely a lot more of a concern,” Mabry said.

Mabry said to stay hydrated and wear face masks to stop the spread of COVID-19. Also, be sure to wash off the masks to avoid further allergies this fall.

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