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Allergy Symptoms VS COVID-19 Symptoms

Last updated: Dec 18, 2022 Post in Allergy Testing in Downtown Brooklyn by Century Medical & Dental Clinic.

Warning signs of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are fever, fatigue and dry cough, and allergy-like symptoms, including runny nose and congestion. During the allergy season, it is tough to differentiate between COVID-19 symptoms and allergies. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment at the Century Medical and Dental Center to have your condition accurately diagnosed and get tested. The trained and board-certified allergy and immunology doctor will determine what you are going through and provide the best guidelines and treatment on taking special care of yourself to stay healthy and keep others safe too.

As the weather changes and pollens bloom, a rise in symptoms of allergies is observed. Combined with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes difficult to determine if these symptoms are resulting from allergies or coronavirus as both have some common signs, including runny nose, congestion, and dry cough.

At the same time, it is essential to note that while some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, several differences help distinguish between both ailments. Visiting your doctor is the best way to know more about the medical condition you are suffering from and to seek the best treatment.

Allergy Symptoms vs. COVID-19 Symptoms – The Similarities

COVID-19, seasonal allergies, and the flu have similar signs and symptoms that make it tough to identify what you are going through and what to do. Learning the significant differences between these illnesses can help to seek prompt treatment and protect yourself, as well as others, from getting infected.

Both seasonal allergies and COVID-19 affect the respiratory system. It is the main reason why so many symptoms of COVID-19 can feel a lot like seasonal allergy symptoms.

Common symptoms of both these conditions include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Headache;
  • Cough;
  • Tiredness;
  • Loss of taste or smell.

Allergy and COVID-19 Symptoms – The Differences

Both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies affect the respiratory system, but they are different in how they affect the body. Allergies are an immune response following exposure to certain allergens such as mold or tree pollen. COVID-19 is a virus that your body is trying to fight off, which is not easy. While COVID-19 symptoms may not be severe on their own, they are critical as compared to typical allergy symptoms.

If you have a runny nose or itchy eyes, it does not necessarily mean you are suffering from COVID-19. But if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, and loss of taste or smell, there is a greater chance you have contracted the COVID-19. Shortness of breath often occurs 5 to 10 days after the first sign of fever, according to healthcare experts.

Allergy symptoms occur mainly due to inflammation caused by the body overreacting to things like pollen or mold. Also, if it happens every year as the weather changes, it may be seasonal allergies acting up. COVID-19 respiratory symptoms can be more severe and persistent. Generally, the common cold or seasonal allergy does not cause shortness of breath unless it has progressed to pneumonia. In such a case, you must contact your healthcare provider to avoid further complications.

The right way to go is to get tested for COVID-19 to protect yourself and others around you and prevent the further spread of the virus. Equipped with the correct knowledge, you can identify your symptoms and determine the health issue you may be suffering from.
Allergy Symptoms VS COVID-19

What Is COVID-19 or Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease caused by infection with the virus SARS-CoV-2. It usually spreads among people who are in close contact, within 6 feet or 2 meters. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets released when someone breathes, coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings.

When these droplets land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby or are inhaled by someone, they can get infected. The virus can also spread if a person touches a surface or object with the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

It is important to note that coronavirus mainly spreads through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. Following the government-specified guidelines, as well as local health department protocols, can prevent the spread of the virus and save precious lives.

COVID-19 Symptoms

You may experience the symptoms of coronavirus anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. They include:

  • Fever;
  • Cough;
  • Fatigue;
  • Muscle or body aches;
  • Headache;
  • New loss of taste or smell;
  • Sore throat;
  • Congestion or runny nose;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Diarrhea.

According to experts, signs of coronavirus can range from mild to severe illness. They can even result in death in case of confirmed coronavirus disease cases. Focusing on yourself and contacting a doctor is very necessary for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment.

Life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
  • Loss of speech or mobility;
  • Confusion;
  • Chest pain.

Many people who have mild infections recover within 2 weeks. Severe cases tend to last 3 to 6 weeks and need proper medical care. Research also shows that COVID-19 symptoms have changed as the disease mutates and affects different populations.

Coronavirus Treatment

Treating coronavirus is very different from treating allergies or flu. The doctors will advise medication according to the severity of the infection and the patients’ condition. For milder illness, resting at home and taking medication to reduce fever is often sufficient, but severe cases require treatments that include supplemental oxygen, assisted ventilation, and other supportive measures.

Doctors prescribe Remdesivir (Veklury) to treat COVID-19 in adults and children who are age 12 and older, particularly those who are hospitalized with this condition. Baricitinib is also recommended for people on mechanical ventilators or those who need supplemental oxygen to reduce inflammation and antiviral activity.

Mild coronavirus symptoms that look like those of allergy or flu can be cured at home without requiring hospital care. However, critical symptoms must not be ignored as they need medical care and treatment. You should contact your doctor to ask if you should stay at home or get medical care in person.

What Is an Allergy?

An allergy is a reaction by the immune system when it gets exposed to certain foreign substances. The response is exaggerated as these foreign substances are not accepted by the body. In turn, it generates a reaction to fight them.

Allergy-producing substances are called allergens. Allergens include pollens, dust mites, molds, animal proteins, foods, and even medications. When an individual comes in contact with an allergen, the immune system mounts a response through the IgE antibody. People who are prone to allergies are said to be allergic or atopic.

The parts of the body most affected by allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Although the various allergic diseases may appear different, they result from an exaggerated immune response to foreign substances in sensitive individuals.

Symptoms of Allergies

Symptoms of seasonal allergies can range from mild to severe and occur seasonally. The most frequently and commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Sneezing;
  • Runny or stuffy nose;
  • Watery and itchy eyes;
  • Itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals;
  • Ear congestion;
  • Postnasal drainage.

Less common symptoms of allergies include:

  • Headache;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Wheezing;
  • Coughing.

Severe reactions

Severe allergic reactions can result in the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal cramping or pain;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Pain or tightness in the chest;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Fear or anxiety;
  • Heart palpitations;
  • Flushing of the face;
  • Swelling of the face, eyes, or tongue;
  • Dizziness or vertigo;
  • Weakness;
  • Unconsciousness.

Allergic conditions

The most common allergic conditions that affect a large majority include:

  • Allergic Asthma;
  • Hay fever;
  • Anaphylaxis;
  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Hives (Urticaria);
  • Rhinitis (Nasal Inflammation);
  • Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis).

What Causes Allergies?

People who suffer from allergies are typically allergic to one or more of the following:

  • Pet dander, such as the kind from a cat or dog;
  • Bee stings or bites from other insects;
  • Foods, including nuts and shellfish;
  • Certain medications, such as penicillin and aspirin;
  • Certain plants;
  • Pollen;
  • Mold;
  • Dust mites.

Medications for Allergies

Medications can help to relieve the symptom of allergies. Immunotherapy can help protect the body by enhancing its resistance to the foreign substances that cause allergies.

The most commonly available medications to relieve allergy include:

  • Oral antihistamines that help with sneezing, itching, runny nose, and water eyes such as loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy), and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy);
  • Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrin, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness;
  • Nasal decongestant sprays such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine);
  • Nasal spray such as Cromolyn sodium eases allergy symptoms;
  • Combination medications that include antihistamine and decongestants such as loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D);
  • Corticosteroid skin creams relieve allergic skin reactions such as itching, redness, or scaling.

You can treat allergies with tried and tested treatment and at-home remedies or even by reducing your exposure to the triggers, but this is not possible in the case of COVID-19. If you have been exposed, chances are that you will end up with symptoms that require strict monitoring and care to ensure they do not turn life-threatening.

Many symptoms of COVID-19 look similar to other conditions including seasonal allergies. It is best to get yourself checked by an experienced doctor to stay healthy and keep others safe. Contact allergy doctors at the Century Medical and Dental Center as taking preventive measures can help to prevent complications and save lives. With the best guidance and care, you can look forward to managing your condition in a much better way and seek quick relief from painful symptoms.

SHARE THIS POST Page Updated on Dec 18, 2022 by Dr. Dvorkina (Primary Care Doctor) of Century Medical & Dental Center
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