How To Tell The Difference Between Allergy And Covid
While both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies affect the respiratory system, they are different in how they affect the body.
Allergies are an immune response following an exposure to certain allergens such as mold or tree pollen. COVID-19 is a virus that your body is trying to fight off this is hard work. And while COVID-19 symptoms may not be severe on their own, they are more severe when compared to typical allergy symptoms.
Here are the biggest differences between allergies and COVID-19.
If You Had A Severe Allergic Reaction To A Covid
- The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, also called mRNA vaccines.
- COVID-19 vaccine is a protein subunit vaccine.
- If you had a severe allergic reaction after receiving a particular type of COVID-19 vaccine , you should not get another dose of that type of vaccine.
CDC recommends that people getting a booster get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine . However, if you had a severe allergic reaction after a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or if you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you may be able to get the J& J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Allergy Symptoms Vs Covid
Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom and cause typical symptoms in those with allergies right as we have seen the spread of the coronavirus . Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences.
Its important to note that this article is not intended to provide comprehensive medical advice. If you have concerns, please always contact your doctor and use general best practices.
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When Do Symptoms First Appear
The symptoms of a sinus infection often come on suddenly. COVID-19 symptoms can develop more gradually 2 to 14 days after exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Viruses that cause a cold or flu tend to circulate in the fall and winter months. COVID-19 can occur any time of the year. While a sinus infection could develop following COVID-19, this hasnt yet been reported by research.
A sinus infection can also occur after exposure to allergens or irritants, such as pollen, pet dander, and cigarette smoke. If you have allergies or were recently around an irritant, you may be at risk for a sinus infection.
How Do Winter Allergies Differ From Covid
While symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies can overlap, there are some key differences that can help you tell the two apart: the severity and the type of symptoms.
When these symptoms show up in someone with allergies, they are typically mild, occur only during specific times of the year, and usually subside with allergy medication or when the allergen trigger is removed or avoided.
It’s important to remember that while allergies are not contagious, a virus can easily be spread from person to person.
According to Ahmed, the post nasal drip that’s caused by allergies can lead to a mild sore throat, which is also a key symptom of COVID-19.
Verywell / Theresa Chiechi
However, unlike with COVID-19, a sore throat that occurs with allergies will not be severe. While it can be accompanied by tickling or scratchiness, it usually does not come with pain, difficulty swallowing, and inflammationsymptoms that are more common with a viral throat infection.
If someone has a viral infection, including COVID-19, they’ll also probably have some symptoms that would be less likely to be seen in someone experiencing allergies. For example, while allergy symptoms including dry cough, headache, and shortness of breath are sometimes encountered as in COVID-19, the following are not:
Another key symptom that’s specific to allergies is itchiness, especially around the eyes. Itchiness is not usually seen with a viral infection.
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Safeguards Are In Place
- Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on site for at least 15 minutes after vaccination.
- You should be monitored for 30 minutes if:
- You have had a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis due to any cause.
- You have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a non-COVID-19 vaccine or injectable therapy.
- You had a severe allergic reaction to one type of COVID-19 vaccine and are now receiving another type of COVID-19 vaccine . This vaccination should only be done in a health clinic, medical facility, or doctors office.
- You had an immediate allergic reaction that was not severe from a previous dose of that type of COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccination should only be done in a health clinic, medical facility, or doctors office.
Vaccination providers should have appropriate personnel, medications, and equipmentsuch as epinephrine, antihistamines, blood pressure monitor, and timing devices to check your pulseat all COVID-19 vaccination provider sites.
If you experience a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers can provide care rapidly and call for emergency medical services. You should continue to be monitored in a medical facility for at least several hours.
Will Fall Allergies Increase My Risk Of Catching Covid
A recent National Institutes of Health study found that people with seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis do not have a higher or lower risk of catching COVID-19. In addition, there is no increased or reduced risk of getting severe COVID-19 symptoms if you have seasonal allergies.
People with moderate to severe asthma, COPD or a compromised immune system may be at higher risk for severe COVID-19.
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Seasonal Allergies Are Chronic
Seasonal allergies are a chronic disease, meaning they occur annually during pollen and mold seasons. The seasonal allergies typically being in the spring and run through the fall. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending on the pollen and outdoor mold counts at certain time so the spring, summer, and fall.
Although seasonal allergies are most common during the spring through fall, you can certainly be allergic to things indoors, like dust or mold. If thats the case, then these allergies can occur throughout the year. If you notice that you experience symptoms at the same time every year, you likely have an allergy.
How To Minimize Your Symptoms
Considering these factorsalong with a detailed history of allergies, the timeline of symptoms, and recent exposure to both allergens or COVID-19can help you figure out what’s most likely to be causing your symptoms.
Whether you determine your symptoms are from allergies or COVID-19, there are some steps that you can take to manage them. You can also take proactive steps to prevent them.
Although you can’t completely remove common allergens or the threat of COVID from your life, you can reduce your risk of being exposed to both.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Remove the allergen from your home
- Set up a humidifier in your home
- Take allergy medication if you are having symptoms
If you are not sure what’s causing your symptoms or if your symptoms are not getting better , call a healthcare provider. They might want you to get tested for COVID-19 or another viral infection like the flu.
If they think that allergies are behind your symptoms, they might want you to see a doctor who specializes in allergies to help find a more effective way to treat your symptoms.
The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.
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Is It Allergies Or Covid 4 Ways To Tell
And with COVID still spreading in our communities, it can be difficult to tell the difference between typical allergy symptoms and something more serious.
But there’s no reason to panic, said Dr. Puja Rajani. As an allergistat, Rajani explained a few key differences.
If you have a known history of allergies, consider this: If you do not have a fever, try a stepwise approach with using your usual treatments, such as long-acting antihistamines or nasal sprays, Rajani said.
How Severe Are The Symptoms
Most sinus infections go away on their own without severe symptoms or complications. If a sinus infection is caused by bacteria, you may need antibiotics.
Many cases of COVID-19 may be mild or moderate. The World Health Organization estimates that
Heres what to do next whether you think that you have a sinus infection or COVID-19.
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Bottom Line: If Youre Having Unusual Symptoms Talk To Your Doctor
They can help ID the cause of whats ailing you, recommend testing, and help guide you on the next best steps, whether that includes starting a new allergy medication or isolating at home until youre sure youre in the clear of COVID-19.
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Covid Or Allergies Newer Covid
Its the beginning of allergy season in Northeast Ohio, but the symptoms can look a lot like those of the newer omicron BA.2 variant sweeping across the country.
Pollen counts in the Cleveland area are moderate to high right now, and will only get worse, according to Dr. Samuel Friedlander, an allergist at University Hospitals and The Weather Channel.
Fatigue, headaches, cough, sore throat, and runny nose are symptoms of both allergies and COVID-19.
There are some differences between the two, he said.
There are some things that point toward infections, for instance, fever is certainly more likely to occur in infection like COVID, rather than allergies,” Dr. Friedlander said.
Itchy, watery eyes are also a sign that what you are dealing with is caused by allergies and probably not COVID.
One symptom in particular usually means you have COVID-19, said Dr. Christine Alexander, family medicine specialist at MetroHealth.
If you have a loss of taste or loss of smell, thats still much more common with COVID than it is with anything else,” Dr. Alexander said.
When in doubt, take an at-home COVID-19 test so you dont risk spreading viruses to others. Alexander said,
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How To Treat Allergies During A Pandemic
If you have trouble finding them, or if you need something stronger like corticosteroids, call your doctor. They may be able to prescribe something over the phone or have a telehealth visit with you. Some pharmacies deliver medications.
When social distancing or stay-at-home rules are in effect, always follow the COVID-19 safety steps recommended by public health officials:
Is It Allergies Or Covid How To Tell The Difference
A mild case of COVID can disguise itself as seasonal allergies. These are the key differences to know.
Jessica is a writer on the Wellness team with a focus on health news. Before CNET, she worked in local journalism covering public health issues, business and music.
Is it COVID-19 or allergies? The answer could make or break your plans to visit family, or influence whether or not you seek COVID-19 treatment, depending on your medical history.
Fortunately, many people now have some immunity against severe COVID-19 disease, whether it’s from being vaccinated or from having a prior infection. But that may actually make it more confusing for, say, a fully vaccinated and boosted person who experiences seasonal allergies every year as they try to discern the cause of a sneezing fit or a bout of congestion.
Add the other fact that omicron and its more-contagious form, BA.2, causes less severe affliction on average compared to earlier strains of the virus, and you have a bigger gray area in the Venn diagram of COVID-19 and seasonal allergy symptoms.
Some old advice on what to do if you suspect a COVID-19 infection remains relevant: Stay home if you’re sick and get tested before you hang around with anyone. But what if your allergy symptoms make you feel sick every day?
Here’s what to know about the differences between allergy and COVID-19 symptoms.
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Have You Had Close Contact With Someone Who Tested Positive For Covid
If you had close contact with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, you may have been exposed to the virus. So, you should take precautions, including wearing a mask and getting tested for COVID-19 five days later. If you develop COVID-like symptoms within that timeframe, you should isolate yourself and get tested immediately, the CDC says.
Mild Symptoms Stay Home And Isolate
Mild symptoms are a temperature below 100 degrees , aches and pains, or a mild cough. If you have these symptoms, stay at home and isolate. Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and monitor your symptoms. Hopefully, you will start feeling better within a few days. You do not need to contact your doctor to let them know you have COVID.
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Differentiating Symptoms Of Covid
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is transmitted between people. Symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms typically develop within a few days of exposure, Dr. Butte says, and most people clear the virus in about 10 days.
Thats very different than allergies, he says. The tempo with allergies is much longer.
Symptoms that arise after being with other people or in public places and dissipate a week or so later are more likely to be from COVID-19 than from allergies. Certain symptoms, such as fever or shortness of breath, are associated with COVID-19 rather than allergies, Dr. Butte says.
Asthma Can Flare Up During Allergy Season & Be Confused For Covid
People with asthma can experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, both well-documented symptoms of coronavirus. However, as the Cleveland Health Clinic points out, breathing and shortness of breath can also be signs of asthma that can flare up with the allergy season.
Dr. Michael Benninger, MD, said that people who suffer from asthma must stay in front of their treatment and be up to date with their medication like nasal sprays or inhalers. He added that this is especially important because those with existing respiratory issues are already at higher risk of potentially severe illness from coronavirus.
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Is It Covid Or Is It Allergies
Patient history, context and a few symptoms may help distinguish between the conditions
For the third year in a row, seasonal allergies have coexisted with COVID-19. And according to clinicians, it has been increasingly difficult to tell the two apart.
As spring progresses and pollen counts rise, more people are starting to wonder if their stuffy nose is a sign of COVID or allergies. Its almost impossible to differentiate them, says infectious disease doctor Aaron Glatt, chair of medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau and a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Each COVID-19 strain has different symptoms. The Omicron variant, more than the others, seems to have more of the upper respiratory tract symptoms like nasal congestion, runny nose and sore throat, says otolaryngologist Ahmad Sedaghat, director of the Division of Rhinology, Allergy and Anterior Skull Base Surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. All of these effects coincide with allergy symptoms, as well as sneezing, coughing, headaches and tiredness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Difference Between Covid
COVID-19 is an acute condition, meaning that its severe and sudden. Patients who do have COVID-19 start exhibiting symptoms 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
COVID-19 symptoms last for about 10 to 14 days. Symptoms vary from individual to individual, but theyll manifest in most people within the two-week exposure window. This is true whether you have a severe or moderate case.
There is more stomach upset and diarrhea with COVID-19 coupled with severe shortness of breath at times. Shortness of breath and chest tightness is a symptom seen in COVID-19 that you wont usually see with people that have seasonal allergies unless the allergies exacerbate underlying asthma. Also, a cough resulting from COVID-19 will usually be more extreme and abrupt in onset than a cough that you have due to allergies.
A new loss of your sense of taste or smell may point to COVID-19, and you should get tested. This isnt typical of allergies.
Allergy symptoms are longer-lasting compared to viral symptoms. Another sign that doesnt match up with COVID-19 is if you have a fever.
Although you may feel like youre taking a beating due to your allergies, this is not a symptom associated with seasonal allergies. For people who have COVID-19, having a fever is one of the common symptoms you may develop.
Sometimes with allergies, you may develop a sinus infection that can make you feel tired, but it should not cause severe fatigue, as reported with COVID.
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