Is it allergy, or is it COVID-19? | KAMR
Is it allergy, or is it COVID-19?  |  KAMR

Is it allergy, or is it COVID-19? | KAMR

AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR / KCIT) – While the allergy season is once again overcoming the High Plains with a mix of hot weather and strong winds, worries and confusion have persisted for some as their symptoms appear to mimic COVID-19. This may become more and more relevant then according to previous reports from NewsNation, The number of COVID-19 cases has recently seen an increase in some parts of the United States.

UnitedHealthcare released a few tips on how a person can tell the difference between the virus and seasonal allergies.

Symptoms of COVID-19

As described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease that can spread through the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks. There have been a wide range of reported symptoms of COVID-19, and those infected can experience a range from mild symptoms to serious illness. However, the CDC noted that some symptoms are more common:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

While the CDC said the list does not include all possible symptoms of COVID-19, these have been reported more frequently by those confirmed to be infected. The CDC also published a self-monitoring tool on its website to help screen for possible COVID-19 infection.

Symptoms of allergy

Allergies affect nearly 50 million Americans each year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and occur when a person’s immune system reacts to a foreign material such as pollen, pet dander, or certain foods. While reported allergy symptoms have a wide range, UnitedHealthcare noted that some are the most common:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Itchy, runny nose and / or sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip, which may cause sore throat or cough

“What if I’m really not sure?”

Although there is some clear difference in the lists of symptoms, a person who experiences coughing, congestion and sore throat – or another set of milder symptoms – may still be unsure whether to give credit to allergy or COVID-19 for their condition. However, health care providers have noticed a few indicators that can help a person determine the probable cause of their symptoms.

CDC noted that if a person does not have a fever, loss of taste or smell or has trouble breathing, then they are more likely to experience allergies than COVID-19. In addition, itchy or watery eyes and sneezing were noted to be more common with seasonal allergies than with COVID-19.

Another indicator, UnitedHealthcare said, is that COVID-19 symptoms typically develop over a shorter period of time than allergies that occur two to 14 days after possible exposure. If a person has experienced the same mild symptoms for a long time, it may be a sign that they have allergies instead of COVID-19.

Further, UnitedHealthcare said a person may have allergies if over-the-counter antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays help them feel better.

Despite these indicators and tips, health care providers such as the CDC suggest that if a person thinks they may have been exposed and is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they should contact their physician or health care provider and consider taking and COVID-19 test.

The most up-to-date information on COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and treatments at High Plains can be found here.

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