Allergy season is here. After you read this you’ll know some of the differences between allergy symptoms and COVID-19.

Allergies and COVID-19 do have overlapping symptoms and it’s not unusual since the onset of the pandemic to feel anxious at the first sign of nasal congestion or reduced sense of smell, or to know the difference between the two. The following symptoms are more often from allergies:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Headaches
  • Itching, watery eyes and itchy nose

People with seasonal allergies tend to have symptoms for several months at a time in the spring and fall . Their symptoms are often helped by taking antihistamine (such as Claritin®, Zyrtec®, Astellin®, etc. ) and nasal steroid medication to keep them under control. Covid-19 symptoms do not really improve with allergy medication.

COVID-19 is an acute condition, meaning that it’s severe and sudden and the symptoms generally have a onset 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. COVID-19 symptoms usually last for about 10 to 14 days.

Allergy and COVID Symptoms Which Overlap

A sore throat, runny nose, headache, nasal congestion and wheezing can occur with both. If you have shortness of breath, loss of smell, or a dry cough, you might have contracted the virus, but it might also be a result of the side effects of having allergies.

The Difference Between COVID-19 and Allergies

  • Allergy symptoms are longer-lasting compared to viral symptoms.
  • A cough from COVID-19 is worse than a cough that you have from allergies.
  • The symptoms of allergies can improve with antihistamines, which does not happen with a COVID-19 infection. More GI upset with COVID-19 and more severe symptoms of shortness of breath . (Shortness of breath doesn’t usually occur with seasonal allergies unless the patient with allergies has asthma.)
  • A new loss of your sense of smell or taste may indicates a COVID-19 infection, and you should get tested (this is not typical of allergies).
  • People who have COVID-19 tend to have a fever while allergy patients don’t usually.
  • Sometimes with allergies, you may develop a sinus infection that can make you feel tired, but it should not cause severe fatigue, as is associated with COVID. Other symptoms of allergies include facial pressure and post-nasal drip.
  • COVID-19 is more likely to cause a quick onset of fever, chills, nausea, muscle aches, rash, stomach pain, diarrhea or lightheadedness.

How to Protect Yourself Against COVID-19

Among the best ways to prevent contracting COVID-19, according to the CDC, include:

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces you touch
  • Try to avoid touching your face
  • Stay away from people who are infected with COVID-19
  • Wear a clean mask when social distancing cannot be maintained

Accurate Diagnosis

When it comes to knowing if you have Covid-19 or allergies – get tested, and for your ENT needs contact Princeton Ear Nose and Throat or click here to schedule your appointment.

Princeton Ear, Nose & Throat
842 State Road  •  Princeton, New Jersey 08540


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