Seasonal allergy vs COVID: How to tell the difference

Seasonal allergy vs COVID: How to tell the difference

In a world where seasonal allergies and COVID coexist, it’s common to mix up the two. The overlap in symptoms can be confusing, and if you don’t know which is which, you might be overlooking the right treatment

2020 was a scary year. Getting a cough instantly made you wonder, “Have I got COVID?” The infection rate hasn’t decreased, so it’s still an option to consider when you’re not feeling yourself. The challenge is that both allergies and COVID-19 show up similarly. As well as a cough, flu-like symptoms could be either too. Whether that’s having sneezing fits, you have a runny or stuffy nose, you’re beyond exhausted, or you have a headache and a sore throat that you can’t seem to shift. 

How do you tell them apart?

Several key differences set them apart. Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, occur when your immune system reacts to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, or certain foods. Allergy symptoms are generally consistent and predictable, occurring during specific seasons or after exposure to known triggers.

First and foremost, both have the potential to affect your breath. If you have severe difficulty breathing, you could be experiencing anaphylaxis and need to call 999 straight away. If, instead, you’re just feeling like you’ve had a big workout though you haven’t moved, that might be COVID.

Beyond that, a big indicator that what you’re experiencing is down to allergies and not COVID is because your symptoms happen regularly. If this isn’t your first time experiencing the discomfort you’re going through, it’s more than likely an allergy. Some other telltale signs are dark circles under your eyes, or you start to develop a rash. 

COVID takes things to the next level. You can usually tell them apart as there is a wider range of symptoms than allergies. While respiratory symptoms dominate, COVID can affect various organ systems, leading to more severe complications.

If what you’re experiencing is instead COVID, you’re likely also experiencing a fever, your muscles ache, and your symptoms are worsening, but in one time period, you’re not getting better and then worse repeatedly. A loss of taste and smell is a big giveaway that you’re experiencing COVID and not allergies. It is worth considering that a loss of taste and smell could be a sign of a sinus infection too. So It’s important to consider all your symptoms, not just isolating them.

Taking the first step: Testing

The first step toward clarity and relief is to take a test. If you feel your symptoms are one-off and developing, then COVID is likely the issue. But, if your symptoms feel more permanent and ongoing, it’s more likely to be an allergy.

Instead of leaving it up to chance and living with your discomfort, take the positive steps towards identification. When you know the issue, you can start to take positive steps towards a more comfortable quality of life. 

Don’t let the confusion between allergies and COVID-19 keep you guessing. Take control of your health and well-being by registering as a new patient or calling us at 02031 433 449. Our team is here to provide the answers and support you need to live your best, symptom-free life.

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