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Allergy Symptoms vs. COVID-19 Symptoms: Basic Info for Patients

It’s not unusual for some illnesses to have shared symptoms. This can make diagnosis tough or event inaccurate. The consequences could be wrong treatment and prolonged or worsened condition. Can you tell the difference between allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms? While the conditions stem from different causes, they could be mistaken, one for the other, based on the symptoms they manifest. How do you identify allergy symptoms from COVID-19 symptoms? Let’s take a closer look at each condition and its symptoms.

Allergy Symptoms vs COVID-19 Symptoms

Allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms are likely to be the same, but the severity of symptoms are far different. Types of allergies include respiratory, food, skin, and pet allergies, among others, caused by a response in the body’s immune system. Seasonal allergies tend to be most common. COVID-19 is the result of an infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2).

Allergy Symptoms

The most common allergy symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Ear congestion
  • Headache
  • Itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals
  • Ear congestion
  • Postnasal drainage

Other less common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

COVID-19 can manifest a wide range of symptoms in the infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) symptoms of the COVID-19 may include, but not limited to:

  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting

The overlapping symptoms can mistakenly identify one condition for the other. Key things to keep in mind include:

  • Symptoms of the allergic reaction typically appear within 48 hours after the initial exposure to the allergen. It may take from 2-14 after exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 for symptoms of COID-19 to appear. 
  • COVID-19 doesn’t cause sneezing, but it tends to appear in allergies.
  • Chest tightness and shortness of breath can be experienced in those with severe allergies who suffer from asthma, but can also be symptoms of COVID-19. If unsure seek immediate emergency medical attention.
  • Allergies don’t usually cause fever, unlike COVID-19 that tend to manifest this symptom
  • Wheezing is commonly caused by allergies and not COVID-19.

Allergy Triggers and COVID-19 Risk Factors

To decide as to whether you are suffering from allergies or COVID-19 if you haven’t been tested, identify allergy triggers, likely contact with triggers, and risk factors of both conditions. If you know your allergic triggers, whether it’s pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, or peanut, and how you were exposed to the allergen, you are more likely to know the source of your symptoms. Also, understanding that certain risk factors of COVID-19, such as age, family and medical history, and underlying health conditions, like liver disease, obesity, heart condition, diabetes, HIV, and cancer, among other chronic illnesses can make you more susceptible to severe illness, like COVID-19 can help decide whether or not to seek treatment.

It’s important to know what’s making you ill and seek medical care. Your health and wellness are crucial to proper functioning and wellbeing. If you need a second opinion then visit a nearby urgent care center for COVID-19 testing and allergy assessment!