How Spring Allergies May Mimic COVID-19

Spring allergy symptoms may mimic those of coronavirus – so how do we tell them apart? An allergist weighs in.

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CLEVELAND — Spring has sprung and that means sniffling, dripping and coughing for many allergy sufferers.

The tricky part is spring allergy symptoms may mimic those of coronavirus, so how do we tell them apart?

According to Cleveland Clinic allergist, Sandra Hong, MD, there are a couple of telltale signs that you’re not suffering from allergies.

“With coronavirus symptoms, very frequently, they’ll come on with fevers,” she said. “If you have a fever, it’s not going to be allergies. If you have diarrhea, that’s also not allergies. That’s something completely different.”

Cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of taste and smell are all coronavirus symptoms, but they’re also common for allergy sufferers.

Dr. Hong said another good way to decipher between the two is itching. If your eyes, nose, throat and ears are itching like crazy, it’s likely allergies.

And if you get the same symptoms at the same time every year – you probably have allergies.

How long you suffer is also a clue.

“Typically with coronavirus, the symptoms will last for a couple weeks,” said Dr. Hong. “They can sometimes be lingering, but typically not like allergies where they can be months on end; a whole season.”

If you know you have spring allergies, you’re probably all too familiar with what makes you feel miserable.

However, if any new symptoms arise, Dr. Hong said it’s a good idea to contact a healthcare professional just to be sure it’s not COVID-19.

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