ERIE (Erie News Now) – Coughing, headaches, and a runny or stuffy nose are symptoms most of us would have written off as a cold or seasonal allergies before the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now, it may be harder to distinguish if it’s a minor illness or something more serious. “There can be some overlap between allergy symptoms and COVID, but it’s not too much,” AHN St. Vincent Allergy and Asthma Specialist, Dr. Philip Gallagher told Erie News Now.
He says it’s been a rough year for many people with seasonal allergies. Pollen counts are up, for now, heading into the high category this weekend. So come Monday, some may be suffering with symptoms that align with both allergies and COVIX-19. So how do you know when to get tested?
There are some big differences in symptoms. “Generally, you don’t get fever with allergies. You can get a little bit of cough due to post nasal drainage, but it’s not that bad. And you really don’t get shortness of breath,” Dr. Gallagher said.
The CDC posted this graphic, outlining the similarities and differences in the two illnesses.
Here are the main signs you should be tested for COVID-19:
-If you’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus.
-Fever or chills
-Shortness of breath
-Loss of taste or smell
A sign you’re probably just experiencing seasonal allergies? “Allergy basically itches, so if you have itchy eyes, itchy nose, itchy ears, itchy palate, it probably isn’t COVID. Or, if there’s a lot of sneezing. there’s not a lot of sneezing with COVID,” Dr. Gallagher explained.
The good news is you can keep COVID-19 away by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.
You can keep allergies at bay, too. “Don’t ventilate your space through the outdoors. Keep the windows closed and run your air conditioner in the car and at home because you don’t want the pollens to interact with you,” Dr. Gallagher said.