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How To Tell The Difference Between Allergies And Covid

Will Fall Allergies Increase My Risk Of Catching Covid

Allergies Or Coronavirus?

It is not yet known if seasonal allergies put you at higher risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing more severe symptoms if you get COVID-19, according to CDC. People who have severe underlying medical conditions such as asthma or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk for more severe complications if they get COVID-19,

How To Tell The Difference Between Allergies And Covid

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Medically Reviewed by Urgent Care

You wake up with a headache, runny nose, and congestion. Its summer, so it might be your annual bout of seasonal allergies. But were still living in a pandemic so could your ailment be COVID-19?

Seasonal allergies and COVID-19 share some of the same symptoms, so it can be difficult to figure out which is which. Read on for more information about allergies vs. COVID-19, and how to tell them apart.

How Can I Prevent Covid

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is to get a COVID19 vaccine vaccine if you are eligible. You and your family can also take steps to protect against the spread of the virus, such as wearing masks and washing hands.

In addition to helping prevent COVID-19, consistent mask wearing may also decrease a child’s exposure to airborne pollens. Regularly washing face masks is encouraged for every child, and this may help clean masks of any pollen particles.

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How To Tell The Difference Between Covid

Allergy and sinus symptoms can be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. An otolaryngologist explains how to tell them apart and when you should seek treatment.

Allergy season has become more complicated since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have allergies or sinus problems, you may not be sure how to tell the difference between those symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms. Jessica Southwood, MD, otolaryngologist, offers expert guidance to help you better understand these three conditions.

Since sinus and allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms can seem similar and have some overlap, it is important to familiarize yourself with the differences. That way, you and your provider can manage your health care appropriately.

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Coronavirus symptoms vs allergies: How to tell the ...

Still, if you only have these mild symptoms, then it could still be COVID-19 or the flu, Schaffner said, adding, “All of them can overlap and masquerade.”

On the other hand, if your symptoms are severe, it’s less likely to be a cold, according to Cioe-Pena. If “someone , they’re dehydrated and looking like they need IV fluids, it’s usually either flu or COVID,” he said.

Another way to assess if it’s flu or COVID-19 versus a cold? Think about the level of flu and coronavirus in your community and your habits, Schaffner said.

“Are you a mask-wearing, sheltering, 6-foot-distancing, avoiding-large-groups person? Or are you a person who goes out and about?” he said. “If youre a careful person, its less likely youll have COVID or flu.”

Wondering if it’s allergies or COVID-19? This isn’t the year to assume you’re developing fall or winter allergies for the first time and act as though you’re not contagious, Cioe-Pena advised. But if it’s an annual occurrence, then there’s no need to “go crazy” thinking you might have COVID-19 or the flu, he said. One thing to note is that itchiness is usually a “hallmark sign” of allergies.

Just make sure your symptoms stay consistent with previous years and are mild for example, an itchy nose with clear runoff and that you feel better after taking your typical allergy relief, like Claritin.

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Listening To The Symptoms

Right now many people are anxious and concerned with COVID-19 being so widespread, Dr. Siegel says. But I tell parents that while the symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 can be similar, there are some concrete ways to tell which one their child is experiencing so they will know how to treat it.

Here are several differences that can be important clues:

  • An illness like COVID-19 causes a system-wide response, while an allergy, which is an overreaction of the immune system in response to exposure to a trigger, is usually more localized. For instance, a child with a flu or COVID-19 may have a fever, body aches, chills, a sore throat, weakness, and respiratory symptoms. Someone with allergies will be more likely to have the symptoms centered on the nose, eyes, and throat, and they usually wont have a fever.
  • Allergies cause itchiness: itchy eyes, itchy nose and sneezing, and a tickle in the throat, she says. Itchiness is usually not a symptom of illness.
  • COVID-19 doesnt seem to cause much in the way of nasal symptoms, Dr. Siegel says. That means if your child is sneezing a lot, its more likely allergies, a cold, the flu, or another illness that isnt related to COVID-19.
  • Children with allergies may also have asthma, which can cause wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. While many people with COVID-19 also have a cough and chest tightness or difficulty breathing, most of the time this isnt accompanied by wheezing, Dr. Siegel says.

So Who Should Get Tested For Covid

Here’s what Dhar recommends:

  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Most people who have had close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
  • Unvaccinated people who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance to avoid exposure, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor settings.
  • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their health care provider, or health department.

The CDC recently recommended that fully vaccinated people who have a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 be tested three to five days after exposure, and to wear a mask in public, indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

Dhar, who responded to questions from the Free Press in an email, noted that the CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.

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What Do Parents Of Girls Need To Know About The Vaccine

Days after the Pfizer vaccine became available for adolescents, Dr. Kawsar Talaat rushed her 15-year-old daughter to their neighborhood clinic for the teens first shot. As a lead vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins, Talaat was confident in the vaccines safety.

But according to health care providers, some parents are concerned the COVID vaccine may adversely affect girls fertility or menstruation a fear that appears to have stemmed from online misinformation and that experts say is wholly unfounded.

There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility, Talaat said.

Prominent anti-vaccine advocate and feminist writer Naomi Wolf was banned from Twitter in June for promoting vaccine falsehoods and for peddling, as NPR reported, misinformation in question form: Can vaccines cause infertility? Miscarriages? Soon after, false click-bait articles began circulating on the topic.


Decades of experience have shown girls can safely be inoculated against diseases such as HPV, influenza and tetanus, and there is nothing to suggest that COVID is any different, said Dr. Mark Turrentine, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital.

How Can You Tell The Difference Between Allergies And Covid

How to tell the difference between allergies and COVID-19

Allergies are more common in the spring, summer, or fall, though indoor allergies to things like mold or dust occur all year long, says internal medicine specialist and Womens Health advisor Keri Peterson, MD. “So if you notice that your symptoms occur at the same time every year, then it is likely allergies.

Another big tip-off? Itchiness. It’s common to have an itchy nose and eyes with allergies, but not with viral infections like COVID-19.

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Ways To Manage Seasonal Allergies At Home

  • Have your child wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting in their eyes.
  • Remove your childs clothes as soon as they come indoors and wash them to remove allergens.
  • Leave shoes at the door so your family doesnt track allergens through your home.
  • Wash your childs hands and face as soon as they come in from the outdoors.

Cough Cough Sneeze Sniffle: Allergies Or Covid

If you’re an allergy sufferer, the arrival of warmer days not only signals the coming of spring, but it also means the onset of runny noses, sneezing and sniffles. If you haven’t already, you’ve probably found yourself asking, how do I know for certain if my symptoms are due to allergies or COVID-19?

“It can be a tricky question,” says Christie Barnes, MD, Nebraska Medicine otolaryngologist. “The key is to determine whether you are having additional symptoms on top of your normal allergy symptoms.”

This Q& A answers common questions you may have this fall as you manage your allergies and concerns about COVID-19.

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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.

A sinus infection can often happen after youve had a common viral illness, such as a cold or the flu. If your symptoms develop after youve already been sick, you may have a sinus infection.

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.

What If It’s Coronavirus Symptoms

Coronavirus News: How to tell the difference between ...

can look similar to seasonal allergies, but often include fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. A subset of patients may complain of not being able to taste or smell, or experience diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, it might just be seasonal allergies.

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Seasonal Allergies And Covid

More bad news: There’s a good chance that allergy sufferers will experience worse symptoms than in past years due to record high levels of pollen across the country, notes Dr. Dass. Extra time spent at home sprucing up your space or hanging with your pandemic pets might not help matters either, she adds. “People have had increased indoor allergenic exposure by adopting pets they may be allergic to or increased cleaning leading to subsequent dust mite exposure,” says Dr. Dass. Eek.

There’s also a good chance that this cold and flu season will be particularly rough, as more people return to in-person activities, such as school, work, and traveling. “We have had an increase in the number of cases of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV in the Midwest and Southern states,” says Dr. Dass. “While we had a record low flu season in 2020 due to social distancing, stay at home orders, and masks, this may increase dramatically with less masking, return to work, return to school, and increased travel.”

TL DR Protecting yourself against all illnesses is especially important, which means getting both a COVID-19 booster shot when you’re eligible .” rel=”nofollow”> about eight monthsafter you’ve received your second dose of an mRNA vaccine) and a flu shot soon. “Because the flu may peak earlier this year, the CDC is recommending that anyone 6 months and older get the flu shot by the end of October,” says Dr. Dass.

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.

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Similarities Between Allergies And Covid

One of the first things to think about is whether you suffer from seasonal allergies. While it may seem like common sense, the stress of the pandemic and possible symptoms may have you unusually worried. Seasonal allergies tend to emerge around the same point each year depending on the person.

Both allergies and COVID-19 such as:

  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • sinus congestion

Along with these, allergies can also bring on additional sneezing and itchy or watery eyes. COVID-19 has those shared symptoms along with fever and chills, muscle aches, a loss of smell, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms more resemble the traditional flu and should be a catalyst for you to seek additional medical attention.

What Milwaukee Mold Counts Are

How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and COVID-19 symptoms

Mold is currently the only prevalent allergen in the Milwaukee area. Ragweed season ended about a week and a half ago, Steven said.

His center performs its own pollen and mold counts daily.

The center’s mold count Monday was 88,397 spores per cubic meter of air, which was the third highest of the year, according to Steven. On Aug. 25, the count was 96,500 and on Aug. 11, it was 88,763.

“We’re not as hot and humid as we typically are when you see mold counts like this, but we’re still way warmer than normal,” he said. “You’re getting started with the fall decomposition, where we’ve been getting the leaves coming down. But they usually go on a pretty slow roll because it’s a lot cooler than this. It’s warm enough that the molds can really go to town.”

In the past 25 years, the center’s previous mold record was 73,946 spores per cubic meter of air, which was set on July 22, 2012, according to Steven. And the previous October record, which was 36,826, came on October 24, 2012.

The center’s historical averages are calculated from multiday rolling averages using data collected since 1995, the center’s website said.

Tuesday’s mold count was 50,036, which is still considered “very high.” The predominant species were cladosporium, basidiospores and ascospores.

The colder it gets, the less prevalent mold becomes.

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How Do Allergy And Covid

Some of the most common allergy symptoms include sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, congestion or runny nose. Common COVID-19 symptoms include fever and chills, muscle and body aches, loss of taste or small, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms in which both allergies and COVID-19 can have in common include cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, congestion or runny nose.

“While allergy sufferers may have difficulty breathing due to congestion, allergy sufferers without asthma typically won’t have shortness of breath, nor will they have a fever,” says Dr. Barnes. “They also usually experience facial pressure rather than a headache.”

How Can You Protect Against Allergies

Unfortunately, you can develop allergies at any time in your life, which can make it even harder to figure out what youre dealing with. The good news is that allergy symptoms often respond to allergy medications, says Dr. Peterson, and avoiding your triggers, whether that means staying inside with the pollen count is high or cleaning your sheets and drapes more often to get rid of dust.

If youre still not sure what’s causing your symptoms, see your doctor, even if its through a tele-health call. They can make the call on whether you should get tested for COVID-19 and how to treat whatever ailment you’re dealing with.

The bottom line: Allergies tend to cause itchiness, while viral illnesses do not, and viral illnesses tend to be accompanied by low-grade fever, swollen glands or body aches, which you never get with allergies.

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Should I Go To The Emergency Room

Go the emergency department if you have chest pain or pressure, confusion, difficulty breathing or blue discoloration to your lips or face.

Some good news is that social distancing and wearing masks may mean a milder flu season. Flu and other respiratory illnesses were reduced in the Southern Hemisphere, whose flu season typically stretches from May to November, says Washer.

Getting a flu shot this year is particularly important to reduce the potential for a twin pandemic of influenza and COVID, which could further overwhelm the healthcare system.

Adds Dr. Washer, Continue to social distance, avoid large gatherings and wear your mask! And get and use a thermometer.

Seasonal Allergies Follow A Schedule

How to Tell the Difference Between COVID

If you have seasonal allergies, you can expect symptoms to appear around the same time each year and last for several weeks. For example, if youre allergic to tree pollen, you can expect a flare-up in the late winter or early spring that will last through early summer.

COVID-19 symptom onset can occur anytime, and symptoms can change as time goes on.

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How To Treat Allergies During A Pandemic

In the midst of a virus outbreak, it can be hard to get to a clinic for allergy treatment. The first thing to do is to stay away from whatever makes your symptoms flare up.

You can also try over-the-counter allergy medicines. Check with your supermarket or drugstore to see if they deliver and have these medications in stock. Or order them online.

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. 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:


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