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Is It COVID or a Seasonal Allergy?

March 15, 2022

You wake up one morning with itchy eyes, sniffles, and you feel congested.

Is it COVID-19 or seasonal allergies?

Most people with seasonal allergies experience symptoms on a predictable schedule. Spring allergy symptoms usually start in April and can last into June. Fall allergy symptoms typically start in August and can last into October.

If your symptoms match the timing of your usual allergies, they are probably caused by allergies. But if you experience symptoms when you normally feel fine or experience unusual symptoms, you should call your doctor. 

Because COVID-19 and allergies share some symptoms, people may worry they have a serious infection. But if you’re trying to assess your symptoms right now, here are a few useful guidelines: 

 Common signs of allergies include:

  • Runny nose
  • Dry, tickly cough
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Congestion 

The symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Body or muscle aches
  • Sore throat 
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pinkeye
  • Skin rash

If you’re having allergy symptoms and you have never had allergies before, you should assume that you have COVID until a test shows otherwise.

To be sure, visit a doctor and ask for a COVID test. And, if you experience tightness in your chest or shortness of breath, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Chest tightness and shortness of breath can be caused by severe allergies, particularly for people with asthma, but they are also serious symptoms of COVID-19.

And, of course, to protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 – and avoid any question of COVID versus allergies – get the free COVID-19 vaccine. FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines are up to 95% effective against symptomatic, laboratory-confirmed cases in adults.

The vaccines have been highly effective in keeping people out of hospitals. A CDC study found that just 1 in 10,000 vaccinated Americans developed a breakthrough case requiring hospitalization. That means the vaccine effectively protected the other 9,999 Americans who got the shot. 

Even if you’ve confirmed that you have seasonal allergies and not COVID-19, your symptoms may still make people around uncomfortable, which could lead to problems at school, the workplace, or other locations.

To avoid raising needless worries, you may want to consider wearing a mask in public. If you’re sick, stay at home.

But if your allergies are causing concerns with a lot of other people, see a doctor for help. If you don’t have a doctor, Grady can help. Give us a call at (404) 616-1000. We’ll arrange an appointment at a Primary Care Center near you. Doctors can treat most conditions and provide access to Grady’s unparalleled medical specialty expertise. 

Seasonal Allergies or COVID