It’s a summer morning, and you’ve woken up with a sore throat, a cough, and maybe a runny nose. A year ago, this may not have been a major cause for concern -- it’s probably just a cold, or a regular case of allergies. But this is 2020, and you fear you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we want to empower our allergy patients to beat fear and misinformation surrounding COVID-19. If you’re experiencing respiratory symptoms and are unsure whether this is allergies or something more, here are a few helpful things to think about before you panic:
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
When determining whether your croupy cough is the result of your usual allergies or a precursor to COVID-19, your first step should be to understand the symptoms associated with each. Like allergies, COVID-19 is often associated with respiratory trouble, particularly in the form of these three hallmark symptoms:
- Cough and sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Fever and chills
However, COVID-19 can also be identified by a number of additional symptoms that have little to do with your respiratory system and do not resemble a cold or seasonal allergies. You may also experience unusual fatigue, nausea accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite. Some who have tested positive for COVID-19 have also reported losing their sense of taste and smell. While some of these non-respiratory symptoms may be unusual, they can also be helpful in differentiating your usual allergies from a potential case of COVID-19.
What are the symptoms of seasonal allergies?
As we’ve stated in previous blogs, when it comes to your seasonal allergies, you know your body best. At the same time each year, you experience essentially the same allergy symptoms, and you (with help from your allergy specialist) are the expert in what those “normal” symptoms are. However, there are a few hallmarks of traditional allergies that differentiate them from COVID-19:
- Itchy eyes
- Itchy nose
- Runny nose
If you do have a cough or sore throat, but you’re also displaying these upper respiratory symptoms, you most likely don’t need to worry. Congestion in your nose and sinuses can cause postnasal drip, which can lead to a cough, sore throat, and even nausea in some patients.
But it’s summertime. How am I still having allergy symptoms?
Yes, spring allergy season 2020 has come and gone, and maybe you’re still experiencing a cough or a runny nose. Don’t panic -- summer allergies do exist. Like spring allergies, they’re often associated with high levels of pollen, with grass as the new seasonal culprit. Ragweed, another common allergen, also begins to grow toward the end of July.
Outdoor summer activities, even socially distant ones, can inherently make you more susceptible to allergy symptoms. You’re simply spending more time where the allergens are.
Ultimately, the only way to be 100% sure that your respiratory symptoms are due to allergies is to consult an allergy specialist for an allergy test. The Allergy and Asthma Center has created a safe environment for you to address your allergies and get the peace of mind you deserve.
At the Allergy & Asthma Center, we are taking every precaution necessary to protect you from COVID-19 while providing continuous care. If you’re ready to address your allergy symptoms, schedule your appointment today.