Suffering from seasonal allergies or could it be more serious?


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Trees are blooming and that means allergy season is ramping up. Unfortunate timing with the coronavirus pandemic has some feeling more anxious when their nose starts to run.

If your throat feels scratchy and you notice you’re sneezing more often, is there a reason to worry?

Dr. Kim Waterhouse, an allergy and immunology physician with SSM Health Medical Group, says there are some symptoms of COVID-19 that allergy sufferers will NOT have.

“Feeling very tired. They could have body aches, muscle aches, then go on and develop a fever. We do not see any of those symptoms with seasonal allergies,” Waterhouse said.

In addition to those symptoms, some COVID-19 patients experience some abdominal pain, loss of appetite, or feel very nauseous.

Another big difference is that some of the patients of COVID-19 are noticing they have an acute loss of sense of smell and taste. This is not a common symptom of seasonal allergies.

Unfortunately, some symptoms of COVID-19 can overlap with seasonal allergies but there still are some subtle differences.

“Some patients with COVID-19 will also develop a sore throat. They can have coughing and shortness of breath. Some of those symptoms can overlap with seasonal allergies,” Dr. Waterhouse said. “Though, at times, people with seasonal allergies may notice a mild sore throat they may have a mild cough such as when they lay down at night or first get up in the morning.”

For the cough, it should be very mild. If the cough persists during the day or is waking you up in the middle of the night and you’re having shortness of breath with it, then it is not consistent with seasonal allergies.

Symptoms that are strictly for allergy sufferers include a runny nose, some nasal congestion, a lot of sneezing, as well as itchy eyes, nose, and ears.

If you aren’t sure whether you may have allergies or are suffering from something more serious. Dr. Waterhouse recommends setting up a telemedicine visit with your primary care doctor or an allergist. And unfortunately, allergy season typically peaks mid-to-late April, but tree pollen counts are already high.

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