And with COVID still spreading in our communities, it can be difficult to tell the difference between typical allergy symptoms and something more serious.
But there's no reason to panic, said Dr. Puja Rajani. As an allergist at Novant Health Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Rajani explained a few key differences.
Fever is one of the biggest differentiators between the two, Rajani said. COVID can cause a fever; seasonal allergies cannot.
If you have a known history of allergies, consider this: If you do not have a fever, “try a stepwise approach with using your usual treatments, such as long-acting antihistamines or nasal sprays,” Rajani said.
Another major distinction is that allergies will come with some level of itchiness. Itchy or watery eyes are common signs of allergies, Rajani said.
Alternatively, someone with COVID may experience symptoms such as:
- Dry cough.
- Shortness of breath.
- New loss of taste or smell.
3. Sore throat or body aches
A sore throat or body aches could be an indication it’s something more serious.
"A quick onset of aches and pains, fatigue, exhaustion or weakness is unlikely with allergies,” Rajani said. “While allergies can cause fatigue, it is usually very gradual, not ‘hitting you like a ton of bricks’ as has been described with viral infections.”
4. Mucus (Hint: The color matters)
If you’re producing mucus, it’s likely allergies or cold and flu symptoms, and not a COVID infection. A runny nose and mucus is typically clear in allergy sufferers, Rajani said.
Yellow or green-colored mucus likely points to a viral condition, such as the flu.
The dreaded fluIt’s estimated that 60,000 hospitalizations each year could be avoided if more people got the vaccine, said Dr. Charles Bregier, Novant Health medical director of corporate health. And the more people who get the flu shot, the more effective it is overall.
“It's the perfect storm brewing out there. If COVID remains bad and it’s a bad flu season, it could completely overwhelm our nation’s health care system,"