Ever suffered sneezing fits or watery eyes and became convinced that you were coming down with the flu bug or even worse, COVID-19 but it turned out to be a case of allergies? Given the current pandemic raging, having such symptoms has triggered unnecessary panic in many people.
Thankfully, there are some simple ways to determine whether the drowsiness you feel or the cough you’ve been fighting is, in fact, the coronavirus, or if it’s simply a result of seasonal allergies.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet hair or a food that doesn’t cause a reaction in most people. The degree of reaction varies from person to person and could range from minor irritation to more severe anaphylaxis, which is a potentially life-threatening emergency. Although most allergies cannot be cured, treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms or in some cases, removing the source of the allergy may make you feel better.
How do you tell if it is COVID-19 or an allergy that you are suffering from? For starters, look at the symptom that you are experiencing. Here are some common ones as advised by The Mayo Clinic along with the symptoms to watch for.
Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, can cause:
- Itching of the nose, eyes or roof of the mouth
- Runny, stuffy nose
- Watery, red or swollen eyes (conjunctivitis)
A food allergy can cause:
- Tingling in the mouth
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, face or throat
An insect sting allergy can cause:
- A large area of swelling (edema) at the sting site
- Itching or hives all over the body
- Cough, chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
A drug allergy can cause:
- Itchy skin
- Facial swelling
Atopic dermatitis, an allergic skin condition also called Eczema, can cause skin to:
- Flake or peel
Some types of allergies, including allergies to foods and insect stings, can trigger a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. A life-threatening medical emergency, anaphylaxis can cause you to go into shock. Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis include:
- Loss of consciousness
- A drop in blood pressure
- Severe shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- A rapid, weak pulse
- Nausea and vomiting
What sets allergies and COVID-19 apart is a fever. Allergies rarely, if ever, produce a fever, which COVID-19 always almost comes with. Being aware and taking note of what causes or makes your symptoms worse is essential.
Despite your best efforts, similar symptoms can often cause confusion in self-diagnosis as many of the early symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other illnesses and allergies, which can make it difficult to tell early coronavirus symptoms from typical allergies. The above list might come in handy to pinpoint an initial allergy but as always, if you are unsure or suffering from a bad case of allergies, always consult a doctor or healthcare professional.