Is It Seasonal Allergies or COVID-19?

Is It Seasonal Allergies or COVID-19?

Is It Seasonal Allergies or COVID-19?

Seasonal allergies affect approximately 50 million Americans each year.

This year allergy season comes during a surge in COVID-19 cases, a viral disease with overlapping symptoms with the common cold, the flu, and seasonal allergies.

In these times of uncertainty and heightened medical alertness, how can chronic disease patients be sure if their symptoms reveal seasonal allergies or something more serious?

Early Diagnosis Makes a World of Difference

Most people infected with COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms and not require specialized medical care.

However, for chronic illness patients with a compromised immune system, the risk of more severe symptoms and developing complications from COVID-19 are much higher compared to healthy individuals.

Recognizing symptoms and getting tested as early as possible can lead to appropriate medical attention, which could potentially help save lives.

Symptom Differences Between COVID-19 and Seasonal Allergies

Early in the pandemic, one’s travel history was an indicator whether symptoms were consistent with COVID-19. This is no longer accurate given that the pandemic has progressed to community spread.

Key Symptoms of COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the following symptoms as being the most common in COVID-19 cases:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Appetite (Anorexia)
  • Difficulty Breathing or Shortness of Breath
  • Headache and muscle aches
  • Sputum Productions

Less common are loss of smell and taste, as well as diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

Key Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies

The first question is whether you have a prior history of seasonal allergies. Two of the most common symptoms of seasonal allergies are itchy eyes and nose, as well as sneezing. Other signs of spring time allergies include a runny or congested nose, sore throat, and a cough that is usually a result of postnasal drip.

Comparison of Symptoms


Symptoms

COVID-19

Symptoms Range from Mild to Severe

Seasonal Allergies

Abrupt Onset of Symptoms

Length of Symptoms

7-25 days

Several Weeks or Months

Cough

Common

(Usually Dry)

Rare

(Usually Dry Unless It Triggers Asthma)

Shortness of Breath

Sometimes

Only if it Triggers Asthma

Sneezing

No

Common

Runny or Stuffy Nose

Rare

Common

Sore Throat

Sometimes

Sometimes

(Usually Mild)

Fever

Common

No

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Headache

Sometimes

Sometimes

(Related to Sinus Pain)

Body Aches and Pains

Sometimes

No

Diarrhea

Sometimes

No

Loss of Smell

Sometimes

(Early Sign of Illness)

Sometimes

(Associated to Congestion)

Loss of Appetite

Sometimes

Sometimes

Sources: Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Given that there are overlapping symptoms, when in doubt, the best thing to do is for the patient to call their primary care physician and explain their symptoms.

The doctor can determine if the patient should be tested for COVID-19 or not.

Altus Infusion understands how scary these times are, especially for chronically ill patients. For this reason, we are working with our physician partners to help educate patients on how to stay safe during this health crisis.

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Disclaimer:  The information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Any content regarding symptoms and possible treatment of illnesses is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Altus Infusion does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information published in its blog and will not be held responsible for the content of any blog publication.

You should always consult your primary care physician for specific medical advice.

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