Spotting the Difference Between COVID-19 and Allergies

Spotting the Difference Between COVID-19 and Allergies

By April N. Kapu, DNP, APRN, ACNP- BC, FAANP, FCCM, FAAN

Given the continued presence of COVID-19, it is critical to know the difference between the symptoms of the virus and allergies. The threat of coronavirus has many people second-guessing their allergy symptoms and wondering if they’re really coming down with COVID-19. While there is overlap, here are some ways to tell the difference:

  • Congestion is likely caused by allergies. Fewer than 5% of coronavirus patients experience sneezing or a runny nose.
  • A fever is a sign of something more. Allergies almost never cause a fever, while nearly 90% of coronavirus patients have one.
  • A dry cough is something to watch. A cough can signal allergies, the flu and coronavirus. Since 70% of coronavirus patients experience a cough, you’ll need to keep an eye on other symptoms.
  • Shortness of breath is a red flag. Allergies can cause some shortness of breath, but if it’s severe or unlike symptoms you usually experience, talk to a nurse practitioner or other health care provider.
  • Follow your instincts. Allergies can make you feel lousy, but they don’t cause aches, pains, fatigue and exhaustion, which are associated with the flu and coronavirus.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 and reduce any worry about telling the difference between the virus and allergy symptoms is to get your COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine is now available in all states for everyone above the age of 16. Get your vaccination, wear your mask and go outside and enjoy the fall weather!