COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? How can you tell the difference?


COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? How can you tell the difference?

The UK has never seen such a situation. The country is in lockdown and the coronavirus is jumping from person to person. It has everyone worried about their health, on the lookout for any symptoms.

It has just happened to hit us as we head into spring. This will no doubt cause some confusion for people who have seasonal allergies. When you get sick, how do you know if it’s COVID-19 or just your hay fever? Luckily, the two are different enough that it isn’t too hard to tell. Let’s take a look.

Symptoms of allergies

Springtime brings lovely blooming flowers and budding trees, but for seasonal allergy sufferers, it can be a nightmare. If you have seasonal allergies, you should already be in tune with the symptoms you regularly experience, which can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Skin rashes
  • Phlegmy cough

These symptoms come from your body trying to get rid of the allergens. They are usually not life-threatening – more of an annoyance. Some of them will probably sound familiar, so be aware of any of these popping up.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Some of those symptoms above can also be symptoms of a cold or flu, which is making people worried about this new coronavirus. But there are two main symptoms experts are telling us to look out for:

  • Fever
  • Persistent, dry cough

Neither of those are symptoms of seasonal allergies. Yes, you might have a cough with hay fever, but it tends to be more mucusy because it is a side effect of your blocked nose. With COVID-19, you also need to look out for a shortness of breath

Some people have reported having cold-like symptoms with COVID-19, but with colds and flus still running rampant, it’s hard to tell which is which. So stick to those main symptoms. Another bizarre one is a loss of smell and taste, but you shouldn’t rely on that for a diagnosis.

So, as you can see, seasonal allergies and COVID-19 are very different. If you have a runny nose and itchy eyes, follow the advice to relieve your symptoms. If you have a fever and/or a cough, seek out the appropriate medical advice on the government’s website and monitor it. You should always take your health seriously and, hopefully, this advice helps you feel better as this situation continues.

At London Allergy & Immunology Centre, we always recommend speaking to a professional about any new symptoms. If you think you have COVID-19, get in touch with the NHS on their website. If you think it is an allergy, feel free to speak to us. Get in touch on 02031 433 449.

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