As the coronavirus spreads through the US, it can be a scary time to feel sick. Waking up with even a slight scratch in your throat might make you question your condition. But with spring flowers and plants beginning to bloom, remember not to rule out the simple explanation of seasonal allergies. Below, we offer some guidance on how to assess your symptoms, and ways to distinguish seasonal allergies from coronavirus.
Consider your personal history of seasonal allergies.
Do you experience allergy symptoms every year? What do they feel like? If you’re suffering those same, familiar symptoms, there’s likely no reason to worry. After a warm winter, spring allergies have arrived a bit early and might be sending you into that sneezing fit.
Seasonal allergies are sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis. They occur when our body’s immune system mistakes a harmless, everyday substance –such as pollen or mold-spores–as a danger. As part of its immune response, the body releases histamines to fight off the perceived threat. This histamine reaction leads to symptoms of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.
You can successfully treat allergies with over-the-counter medications called antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin). These medications block the body’s histamine-producing response and help to reduce symptoms. In general, allergy medications are very effective, but they will not make an impact if your symptoms are due to a viral illness such as flu or COVID-19. Keep this in mind, and consult a medical professional if your condition does not improve with traditional treatment.
Know the Symptoms.
As WHO outlines, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Since fevers are not generally associated with seasonal allergies, this symptom is a good indicator that something else is going on. Call our clinic if you or a loved one is concerned about a fever. We can help determine the best course of action.
Another way to differentiate seasonal allergies from the novel coronavirus is the severity of your fatigue. While allergy symptoms can certainly leave you feeling a bit rundown, the fatigue seen in individuals infected by COVID-19 is much more extreme.
We are here for you during this uncertain time.
We hope this information provides you with a helpful starting point to assess your symptoms and eases anxieties surrounding spring allergies and coronavirus. Pay attention to changes in your health and call us when you need care. You can also take our COVID-19 Self Assessment test or schedule a Telemedicine visit for remote care.