Information in this article provided by: Sara Narayan, MD, Allergy and Immunology Specialist.
KSNF/KODE — In today’s world, with every sneeze, cough or tickle in the throat, many people wonder, “Do I have COVID-19?”
For the millions of allergy suffers around the country and especially here in the Midwest, this question becomes a little more complex: Allergies or COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus), or perhaps a cold or the flu?
The range of symptoms for COVID-19 is quite broad, based on different variants.
In addition, people who are vaccinated but have a breakthrough infection, may experience different symptoms than those who are not vaccinated.
Symptoms of COVID-19 infections can now range from asymptomatic to mild upper or lower respiratory symptoms, to severe pneumonia.
Early testing is advised by those in the medical field, if there is any suspicion of COVID-19 infection.
Monoclonal antibody treatment can be effective, but only if COVID-19 is detected early through a COVID-19 test.
Most of the PCR tests (a test to detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus) for COVID-19 available in our community, as well as the rapid antigen tests, will detect the current circulating variants including omicron.
In the following article you’ll find ways to tell if you are suffering from allergies, a cold or the flu, or if you should call you physician and get tested for COVID-19.
Allergy symptoms range from mild to severe and can occur seasonally or be present year-long.
In patients with asthma, allergies can cause a cough, wheeze and shortness of breath.
Allergies are caused by your immune system overreacting to normal things in your environment, such as pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander, and are not contagious.
Medications can typically treat your symptoms, and allergy shots can often help patients find long-term relief.
Common Allergy Symptoms
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy or watery eyes
- Itchy nose or ears
- Post-nasal drip (which can sometimes cause a mild sore throat)
- Mild fatigue
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a viral illness that can be spread in ways that include coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact.
Symptoms typically start between 2 and 14 days after exposure, and usually resolve within 14 days after onset, whether the symptoms are mild, moderate or severe.
It is important to note that if you have received the COVID-19 vaccine, it is still possible you can get COVID-19.
If you are vaccinated and test positive for COVID-19, your symptoms are expected to be milder.
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Intense fatigue, body aches
- Loss of smell
Common Omicron Variant COVID-19 Symptoms
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
KEY POINTS TO DETERMINE ALLERGIES OR A COVID-19 INFECTION
- Time line and past history.
- Allergy symptoms often respond to allergy medications.
- Allergies typically make people itchy. Itchiness is not a symptom of viral illness.
- Patients with allergies do not develop a fever. Often people with COVID-19 do.
- Patients with allergies may also have asthma, which can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. COVID-19 typically does not cause wheezing.
ALLERGIES, COLD, FLU OR COVID-19 CHECKLIST
You can use the following chart to identify your symptoms and help determine what health issues you may be suffering from.
For any non-emergency health concerns, it’s advised that you contact your physician or visit an urgent care center where doctors can examine you and determine the best treatment.