A woman with allergies, not coronavirus, sneezes safely.

With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctors Hunter Hoover, MD (SouthPark), John Kilde, MD (Albemarle), Roy Lewis, MD (Mooresville), and Gregory Parsons, MD (Lancaster, Rock Hill)

The coronavirus pandemic hit at the same time as spring allergy season began here in the Carolinas. Because some people might not know the difference in symptoms, today we wanted to discuss the differences between allergies and the coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The most common symptoms of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 are fever, shortness of breath, and dry cough. Some patients may have tiredness, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. Some patients have also reported a loss of their sense of smell and an alteration of their sense of taste. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

What are the symptoms of allergies?

Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and post-nasal drainage.

The most common spring allergens are tree pollens, grass pollens, and mold. Summer allergens are often caused by grasses. Fall allergies are usually triggered by ragweed and pigweed. Mold and dust are common winter allergens.

How can I tell if these are symptoms of allergies or coronavirus?

Allergies primarily affect the nose and eyes. Itching of the nose and eyes can occur with allergies but not coronavirus. The post-nasal drainage from allergies may lead to a mild cough but not shortness of breath. Allergies may cause tiredness but not body aches or ill-feeling.

On top of that, allergy symptoms occur at the same time every year. If you get allergy symptoms every spring, your current stuffy, runny, itchy nose is also likely due to allergies.

Coronavirus affects the lower respiratory region more than the nasal region. While nasal congestion and a runny nose are signs of both conditions, may be present, the major symptoms involve the lungs, including cough and shortness of breath. In addition, systemic symptoms, such as fever and aches, tend to occur.

Please note that many allergy symptoms can be symptoms of a cold, too. The biggest difference between a cold and allergies is a cold will usually clear up after 7-10 days, while allergies are ongoing.

Frustratingly, a cold, flu, viruses, and allergies can have overlapping symptoms. For example, while a sore throat and a cough are more likely virus-related, they can be symptoms of allergies, too.

allergy care from CEENTA

If you would like a doctor to check if your symptoms are of allergies or something worse, schedule a visit at CEENTA. Our doctors will help make your allergies one less thing you have to worry about this year.

This blog is for informational purposes. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with a CEENTA allergy specialist? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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