Coronavirus or Allergies?
The spring pollen season is upon us! Our FAAC pollen counters are reporting record high tree pollen and the grasses are starting to bloom as well. (www.faaccares.com/pollen). All the visible yellow pollen on cars, driveways and trashcans is causing the usual spring miseries of sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes and coughing. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is making these symptoms particularly worrisome to the more than 50 million allergy sufferers in the U.S. because of the overlap of symptoms seen with ordinary allergies and COVID-19. An otherwise annoying spring sneeze or cough now has the potential to cause fear and anxiety.
Although cough is a common symptom in both the pandemic and seasonal allergies, there are several differences in symptoms between the two diseases. Allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and occasionally cough. On the other hand, COVID-19 causes fever, shortness of breath, and body aches in addition to cough. Runny nose is rarely a symptom of the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 tips for spring allergy sufferers.
Your allergy symptoms may lead to the feeling of constantly needing to scratch your eyes, nose, or face, but this behavior makes it easier to spread the virus. Here’s what you can do to help:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Use tissues as much as possible to cover your sneezes. Throw the tissue away after use into a closed container.
- Continue to take your routine allergy medications consistently, including nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines.
- Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
- Close doors and windows at night and on days when pollen counts are high.
- Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.
Remember, the best way to give yourself peace of mind about whether your symptoms are a result of allergies or COVID-19 is to take your allergy medications consistently. If your symptoms go away after taking allergy medications and you don’t have other coronavirus symptoms, it is likely that you are dealing with allergies, not COVID-19.