As we enter another pandemic spring, pollen counts are on the rise and the coronavirus continues to circulate in our communities. There is some overlap between seasonal allergy symptoms and COVID-19, so sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference! Here is a quick review of allergy symptoms versus COVID-19 symptoms.

Overlapping symptoms of allergies and COVID-19

The most common overlapping (meaning these can happen with allergies or COVID-19) symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose (this is less common in COVID-19)

Cough and shortness of breath happen less often with allergies unless the person has a history of asthma which can be triggered by pollen.

Allergy symptoms

Individuals with seasonal allergies frequently experience the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Itchy and/or watery eyes

These symptoms are NOT associated with COVID-19, and generally get better with over-the-counter allergy medications (antihistamines) such as Zyrtec, Claritin or Allegra. Nasal corticosteroid sprays, such as Flonase, Nasonex or Nasacort are also often helpful for seasonal allergy symptoms.

COVID-19 symptoms

COVID-19 infection most often involves the following symptoms:

  • Fever/chills
  • Body aches
  • Loss of taste and/or smell

If any of these symptoms are present, your child should be kept home in quarantine as a precaution until a COVID-19 test can be arranged.

Download our COVID-19 versus seasonal allergies infographic here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Hiers Lisa Hiers, MSN, APRN, NP-C, AE-C, is a board-certified nurse practitioner in the Allergy and Immunology Division at Children’s National Hospital.

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Posts from Lisa Hiers, MSN, APRN, NP-C, AE-C