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The Difference Between Allergies & COVID19

Allergies vs. COVID: What’s the Difference?

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, respiratory issues, such as coughing and sneezing, are symptoms of various health conditions. Before you jump to conclusions, read this article to identify the differences between COVID-19 and allergies.

The common symptoms between allergies and COVID 

COVID is a highly contagious disease with flu-like symptoms. That‘s why most of us are wary every time we encounter someone sneezing or coughing. It’s worth being cautious by understanding the common symptoms between seasonal allergies and COVID below:

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

Symptoms that can help tell the difference

The common symptoms of COVID-19 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.

COVID-19 symptoms

Coronavirus disease or COVID-19 is caused by a type of coronavirus that had not been seen in humans prior to 2019. The symptoms are mild, but the complications make it worse for certain individuals, especially those who are immunocompromised. The virus targets the lungs and causes the spread of inflammation in the respiratory system. 

The distinct symptoms found in COVID patients are as follows:

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

Allergy symptoms

Allergies, on the other hand, are part of an immune response 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 foreign invaders. 

In the case of allergies, the immune system overreacts to certain foods, smells, or even changes in the weather. Allergies develop when the immune system becomes weaker due to age or other medical conditions.

You can tell that it’s just an allergy when you are constantly sneezing or have watery or itchy eyes.

Developing allergies during the pandemic

Allergies develop when the immune system weakens. Factors such as aging, air pollution, underlying medical conditions, and genetics cause the immune system to decline. 

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

If you develop allergies during the pandemic, observe your symptoms and take precautionary measures to be sure it is 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 observations of your symptoms can make your allergies more manageable. It also gives your doctor a better understanding of how to help you feel better.

Here are some tips for managing your allergies at home:

  • Hydrate often: Allergies like allergic rhinitis congest 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 cannot be cured. Backtrack and take note of what you previously ate, smelled, 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 previously have worked with your allergies. It will help control the inflammation. 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. 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:

  • Observed symptoms over the past couple of days or weeks
  • Seasonal patterns that trigger the allergic reaction
  • Medications you’re taking
  • Progression of your symptoms

Metrolina Medical Associates can help you manage your allergies

Many hospitals are at or near capacity due to the COVID response. At Metrolina Medical Associates, we provide comprehensive medical services in Rock Hill and Charlotte to help keep our patients feeling their best. 

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

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