If you’re an allergy sufferer, you know the drill. At certain times of the year, when the trees do their thing and the level of airborne pollen soars, you probably have sneezing frenzies and other niggling “hay fever” symptoms. Although seasonal allergies can be quite bothersome, they aren’t contagious and can usually be managed with treatment.
The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has added a new challenge to allergy season. A highly contagious viral illness, COVID-19 spreads after respiratory droplets become airborne, which usually happens when an infected person sneezes or coughs. As COVID-19 continues to run rampant around the world, symptoms you previously wrote off as harmless might be causing you to think twice. With every little cough, you might now wonder: Is it allergies or COVID-19?
Seasonal allergies and COVID-19 are similar in a lot of ways, but there are certain key differences between them, such as:
Both seasonal allergies and COVID-19 can cause coughing, wheezing, fatigue, headache, a sore throat, and nasal congestion or a runny nose. However, sneezing and watery eyes—two of the most common signs of hay fever—do not usually occur with COVID-19. Similarly, some telling signs of COVID-19—fever, chills, body aches, and a new loss of taste or smell—are not typically associated with seasonal allergies.
Unlike COVID-19 symptoms, which generally resolve within a week or so, seasonal allergy symptoms tend to recur at the same time every year, with each episode lingering as long as the allergen is in the air (often several weeks). As such, a personal history of hay fever is a significant factor that can help you distinguish between allergies and COVID-19.
Some of the milder symptoms that can be caused by either seasonal allergies or COVID-19 can be relieved with over-the-counter medications, such as nasal decongestants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, while antihistamine treatment can be very effective for certain prominent allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes, it does not affect COVID-19 symptoms.
The Right Care, Right Now
The only way to confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis is to be tested by a medical professional. Medella Urgent Care offers PCR testing and rapid antigen testing to detect an active COVID-19 infection, as well as antibody testing to detect a past COVID-19 infection. We also see patients for seasonal allergies and other non-COVID-related reasons.
To learn more, contact Medella Urgent Care or stop by our walk-in clinic in Magnolia or Vintage Park, TX, today.