COVID or spring allergy? How to see the difference?

Spring is in full swing and normally that means allergies for many. But with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise again, you may be wondering if you have the virus or if it’s just allergies.

Allergies affect as many as 60 million people each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And this allergy season, coronavirus infections are on the rise again in Los Angeles County, with a 40% increase in cases, public health officials said last week.

Combine that with gusts of wind picking up over the next few days, and you’ll find yourself wondering if those trinkets are anything to worry about.

“Symptoms of allergies can certainly mimic the symptoms of COVID,” the LA County Department of Public Health told KTLA.

The two share some symptoms, including: cough, fatigue, headache, fatigue, sore throat, sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose, according to the CDC.

But they are also different. Common symptoms of COVID-19 that allergies don’t often have include: fever or chills, body aches, loss of taste or smell, and shortness of breath. (Seasonal allergies do not cause shortness of breath unless a person has a respiratory disease such as asthma that can be caused by pollen).

Meanwhile, allergies can cause itchy or watery eyes, which COVID-19 doesn’t often do.

The CDC chart below will help you compare the symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies so you can tell the difference:

The CDC shared this chart on February 5, 2022 regarding allergies and COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 and seasonal allergies have a number of symptoms in common, it is recommended that you do a coronavirus test.

“If people have a cough or other symptoms of COVID, we always recommend testing and isolating until you have the results of the tests,” LA CountyPublic health officials have said so.

If you are sick, you are advised to isolate yourself from others and test yourself for COVID-19. If your symptoms are severe or if you have underlying medical conditions that suppress your immune system, you may need to see a healthcare provider.

Climate change could potentially lead to both higher pollen concentrations and longer pollen seasons, leading to more people suffering from allergies, the CDC said.

The good news is that face masks can reduce allergies outdoors if worn properly and cleaned regularly, the department added.

COVID or spring allergy? How to see the difference?

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