Difference between Allergy and Coronavirus- Which One am I Experiencing?

Coronavirus has spread to the whole world leaving more than 300,000 people infected and thousands of deaths. It is normal for anyone to worry about his health condition during this time when any respiratory problem appears to be a coronavirus symptom. Most of the people who have allergies are worried because it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between allergy and coronavirus symptoms; they are too similar.

More than 50 million people in the USA experience troublesome allergic symptoms every year. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology reports that this number is increasing every year, so more people are at risk. These allergies include all seasonal allergies (pollen, weed) and year-round allergies *dust, smoke, pet hair).

But now as this coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, it is easy to confuse allergies with coronavirus symptoms. But paying attention to the details, you can tell the difference between allergy and coronavirus symptoms easily.

There are a few things that distinguish allergy from coronavirus symptoms such as allergies that do not cause fever in anyone. The seasonal allergy “hay fever” despite its name, doesn’t cause a “fever” confirms Dr. J. Allen Meadows, an allergy specialist from the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Clinic.

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Some common symptoms of allergy are; nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, loss of smell and taste, throat clearing, asthma. On the other side, the symptoms of coronavirus linked infection show up as; fever, dry cough, breathing problems, muscle pain, nausea, digestive issues, fatigue, etc.

The coronavirus infection is called COVID-19 and it shows nothing like sneezing, nasal congestion, or sniffles that commonly represent a seasonal allergy. Also, in case of allergies, the symptoms prevail during a specific time of the year and most of the people experience them in the spring season.

In addition to these common signs, itch and hives are also a characteristic allergy sign but in case of respiratory allergies, they don’t show up. Itch and hives on the skin only show up when a person has a skin allergy. Also, allergic people don’t experience digestive problems, pain, and fever.

People with allergies also report their symptoms to show up when they are in contact with a triggering factor. For example, dust and smoke might cause sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, and cough.

American Academy of Ophthalmology has reported some of the coronavirus positive patients to experience “pink eye” but not all patients experience it. so it is not a landmark symptom of COVID-19 and not all pink eyes represent the person having COVID-19.

There is indeed some similarity that makes it hard to tell a difference between allergy and coronavirus symptoms such as cough and difficulty breathing.

The seasonal allergies could be treated with simple, over the counter medicines, allergy shots, and controlling the exposure to allergy triggers. Some of the common allergy medicines are oral antihistamines such as cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, etc.

For some people, nasal steroids also help but they are not the typical steroids that you might have heard about sportsmen and athletes using to improve their performance. The steroids for allergy are a special class of medicine that helps against a runny nose and congestion.

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Unlike over the counter, anti-histamine tablets, these nasal sprays are not be used without consulting a doctor. It is necessary to make sure that a person really needs them and using these sprays would not affect any other medication that he is taking.

If you suspect that your symptoms are different from allergy symptoms and you might have COVID-19. Most of the coronavirus infections are mild and they heal on their own while you maintain a social distance with others, hydrate yourself and boost immunity. However, it is necessary to seek immediate medical assistance if you experience difficulty in breathing, extreme pain in the chest, confusion about your condition, or another uncomfortable thing that shows up.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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