ST. LOUIS, Mo. – It’s the first full day of fall, a time many look forward to with cooler temperatures, while others dread the return of allergies. This year, allergy sufferers also have concerns when it comes to COVID-19,
Doctors say there are some key differences between the two. For example, COVID-19 can cause fever and chills, which is not a common symptom of seasonal allergies. Other symptoms more common with the coronavirus include muscle and body aches, a new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. More common with allergies are itchy or watery eyes and sneezing.
Those are simple to recognize, unfortunately, there are symptoms they both can share like cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, sore throat, congestion, or runny nose.
Seasonal allergies do not usually cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Unless a person has a respiratory condition such as asthma that can be triggered by exposure to pollen.
Because some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are similar and they can vary from person to person, it may be difficult to tell the difference. So, you may need to get a test to confirm your diagnosis
Does having season allergies increase your risk of contracting COVID-19? There is not enough scientific information at this time to know whether having seasonal allergies puts you at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or having more severe symptoms if you do contract COVID-19.
We do know that older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, or heart or lung disease are at higher risk for developing more serious complications when they have COVID-19.
Protect yourself from seasonal allergies, by limiting your time outdoors on high pollen days. When outside avoid activities that stir up pollen, like mowing or raking leaves. When you come inside take a shower and change your clothes. You can also invest in a portable air cleaner and keep inside temp comfortable with air conditioners, heat pumps, fans and window shades.
Allergists say if you have any symptoms that are out of the ordinary it might be worth a call to your doctor just to make certain it’s not something more severe.