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The Difference Between Allergies & COVID-19

The Difference Between Allergies & COVID-19

It’s more uncomfortable to sneeze now than before because of the pandemic. Anxious thoughts can make you think that you’re already infected with the coronavirus. However, if COVID-19 and allergies have similar symptoms, it can be hard to jump to conclusions. In this article, we’ll help you identify the difference between these two conditions.

The common symptoms between allergies and COVID 

COVID is a highly contagious disease with flu-like symptoms. That‘s why most of us become wary every time we encounter someone sneezing or coughing. Without a cure at the moment, it’s worth being cautious by checking out the common symptoms between a simple allergy and COVID below:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose

Symptoms that can help tell the difference

The symptoms of COVID are mild at first which makes it hard to detect. Some people don’t show any symptoms at all. However, there are certain symptoms that can help us differentiate the two conditions.


Coronavirus Disease or COVID-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus that has never been seen in humans according to the CDC. The symptoms are mild but the complications make it worse for certain individuals, especially those who are immunocompromised. The virus targets the lungs which causes the spread of inflammation in the respiratory system. 

The distinct symptoms found in COVID patients according to the CDC are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea


Allergies, on the other hand, is an immune response of the body to certain substances that the immune system mistakes as ’harmful’ to the body. Inflammation is a defense mechanism used by our immune defenses to fight what it considers as ‘foreign invaders’. 

In the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts to certain kinds of food, smell, or even changes in the weather. Allergies develop when our immune system becomes weaker as we age and due to other medical conditions affecting the immune system.

You can tell that it’s just an allergy when you’re:

  • Constantly sneezing
  • Have watery eyes

Developing allergies during the quarantine

Allergies develop when our immune system becomes weaker. There are certain factors that contribute to the decline of the immune system like aging, air pollution, underlying medical conditions, and genetics

Staying indoors and constant feelings of anxiety and depression can also weaken your immune system. When that happens, allergies may start to develop depending on which substance your body mistakes as a ‘foreign invader’. 

If you’re starting to develop some allergies during the pandemic, it’s very important to observe your symptoms and do precautionary measures just to be sure it’s not COVID. Consult a medical professional and get tested to keep everyone in your family safe. 

Tips to manage allergies at home

If you feel like you have developed an allergic reaction to something, your proactive observation about your symptoms can make your allergies more manageable. It will also give your doctor a better understanding of how he or she can help you feel better.

Here are some tips in managing your allergies at home:

  • Hydrate often: Allergies like allergic rhinitis specifically congests the nasal area caused by allergens in the air. Try to drink as much water as you can to rehydrate your body to replenish water consumed by excessive mucus production in your body. 
  • Try to identify what triggers your allergies: Allergies can only be managed and can not be ‘cured’. Backtrack and take note of what you previously ate, smell, or touched that caused your allergies to flare up. 
  • Avoid your triggers: The only way to live with allergies is to avoid what triggers allergic reactions. Take antihistamines that have worked with your allergies before. It will help control the inflammation and don’t forget to mention it to your doctor during your consultation.
  • Keep yourself safe from the virus: Viruses can take advantage of the vulnerability of your immune system. So, ensure that while you are managing your allergies, you’re also maintaining safety protocols like social distancing, handwashing, and good hygiene. 
  • Consult a doctor for a more accurate diagnosis: In times like this, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re not sure if your condition is a flu, allergy, or COVID-19, consult a doctor through telehealth visits or online consultations. 

To make it easier for your doctor to understand your condition, keep the following information handy before your consultation:

  1. Observed symptoms for the past couple of days or weeks
  2. Seasonal patterns that trigger the allergic reaction
  3. Medications you’re taking
  4. Progression of your symptoms

Metrolina Medical Associates can help you manage your allergies

Hospitals are often in full capacity due to COVID response and medical practices like Metrolina Medical Associates help residents of Rock Hill and Charlotte have access to healthcare

Our family practice has experienced allergy specialists who can help diagnose if you have COVID or just having an allergic reaction. Reach out to our specialists by calling us now.

Author Info

Raj Kedar

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