Fall is officially here and with it, comes seasonal allergies. From coughing, to sneezing, and even that scratchy throat, how can you tell the difference between your allergies and COVID-19?
The answer might not be as simple as it seems. The easiest way to determine the difference is by getting a COVID-19 test.
According to Dr. Flavia Hoyte, an allergist with National Jewish Health, “Most people who have allergies know what their allergies feel like and when they tend to peak.”
A fever does not accompany allergies, so if you have one it could be the first sign that you may want to get tested for COVID-19. Experts warn that you can also be sick with COVID-19 and not have a fever, however.
‘Almost identical’ symptoms
As we enter the fall, parents bracing themselves for the usual cold and flu threats now have to be on the lookout for COVID-19 and spiking RSV cases in parts of the country.
“It’s really challenging for parents to tell the difference between seasonal allergies, common colds, and potentially the COVID virus and how it’s affecting kids,” East Tennessee Children’s Hospitals Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joe Childs, told WATE. “Symptoms between RSV and other viruses, even COVID, are almost identical.”
Dr. Childs said COVID-19 and RSV case numbers are remaining high, “we’re seeing all these other respiratory viruses we’re used to seeing in the winter right now because over the course of the winter we just didn’t see it. With people being much more separate, no worldwide travel, masks being used a lot more, it just protected us from having that kind of season while we were protecting ourselves against COVID-19.”
Now, the changing of seasons has some people concerned about whether their sniffles are from fall allergies or something more severe.
“As the fall pollen season starts, which is especially weeds that are pollinating right now, if you are especially sensitive avoid being outside as much as possible until your past that pollination period,” Childs said.