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
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
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.