COVID-19 versus seasonal allergies has become the main reason for the confusion among many people as the two conditions share similar symptoms. Among these are dry cough, headaches, sore throat, and difficulty breathing. To distinguish the differences, DC infectious disease expert has tips to avoid such confusion.
According to infectious diseases specialist Dr. Maria Elena Ruiz from MedStar Washington Hospital Center, most people who have allergies know exactly their symptoms. Thus, the thing that she would advise is to look for something beyond those symptoms.
5 Symptoms to Determine the Differences
In these two conditions, both the lungs and throats might be affected. The 5 symptoms below, though, as specified in a WTOP report, are among the main determining factors if one is likely experiencing COVID-19 or seasonal allergies:
According to Ruiz, with allergy attacks, an individual would not expect fever to occur. Indeed, fever is present with an infectious or viral disease, and it does not exist with seasonal allergies.
The expert also said, those who have COVID-19 are getting headaches, and typically, it is quite severe and linked to fever.
Meanwhile, uncomfortable headaches associated with allergy attacks and congestion tend to be behind the sinuses and eyes.
Patients typically succumbing to seasonal allergies need to be careful when avoiding allergies and taking their medicines.
Allergies can lead to ear, eyes, and throat itchiness. This is not a symptom experienced with a viral disease. In COVID-19, explained Ruiz, there can be eye irritation, as well as teary eyes. However, it can be kind of unusual. The expert added she would consider the symptom consider that symptom more consistent with allergies.
This can be linked to allergy attacks, although it can be severe when resulting from the disease. Those with COVID-19, the infectious disease specialist said, will have more intense fatigue where they cannot get out of bed.
More importantly, the expert's advice is that instead of waiting for the allergies to set in, an individual should take his medicines to avoid such confusion and stress if he is trying to sort it out.
Taking the medicines, Ruiz elaborated, is something that she does exactly since she does not like one to come to the hospital and be "coughing and sneezing and making people nervous."
Susceptibility of People with Allergies to COVID-19
Because of the two conditions' shared symptoms, many people are now asking if people with allergies are more susceptible to COVID-19 than others who don't have them.
According to a Health Matters report, at this point, it remains unknown. While people who have compromised immune systems are at greater risk for severe COVID-19, those who have allergies do not have a compromised immune system. In fact, the said report specified, their allergies are an overreaction of the immune system.
Having said this, among those who have some degree of asthma, people who have the worse diseases are inclined to be in a higher-risk group for viral infections, specifically if the asthma occurrence is not managed well.
Therefore, according to associate attending otolaryngologist Dr. William Reisacher from New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, this is an ideal time to manage one's allergies or asthma if he has it.
He, who's also an associate professor and director of allergy services in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine, added that during a virtual visit, a patient and his doctor could go over the ways the condition is being managed and if needed, make any modifications and improvements.
A related report on the differences between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are shown on Mount Sinai Health System's YouTube video below: