Is it COVID-19 or allergies?

Both COVID-19 and tree pollen allergies can cause respiratory symptoms; luckily, the symptoms are different. 

Allergy symptoms

Many people suffer from seasonal tree pollen allergies. If you have these allergies, you know it’s spring when you start to sneeze and have an itchy nose and eyes. You may also experience a runny nose and nasal congestion with a sore throat or cough due to postnasal drip.  

These allergy symptoms occur around the same time each year and can be annoying, but are rarely serious unless you develop a sinus infection. If you suspect you have a sinus infection with a headache and painful pressure in your sinuses, call your doctor. 

COVID – 19 symptoms

The Symptoms of COVID-19 are quite different. Rather than a sneeze, you may have a cough that does not go away. Fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle pain, chills, and repeated shaking with chills are other COVID-19 symptoms that do not generally occur with allergies. Some people report a lack of taste or smell, fatigue and loss of appetite – again, symptoms that are different from allergies. 

COVID-19 symptoms appear within 5-14 days after exposure, but you may be asymptomatic (show no symptoms). Most cases of COVID-19 are mild enough that you can rest at home and take over-the-counter medications to reduce your fever.  

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your physician for next steps. You may be told how and where to go for testing, if appropriate. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or go to the Emergency Room. 

For more information 

You may find this chart from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology helpful.  You can also speak with your doctor if you have more questions.