With the spread of COVID-19, we’ve found a lot of people are coming to our clinics mistaking symptoms of seasonal allergies for those of COVID-19. Not sure what your symptoms indicate? Check out our chart and descriptions below!
Are your symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
At the beginning of the pandemic, your travel history offered important clues, but this is no longer pertinent because coronavirus has been spreading in our communities.
Key symptoms: The more common and sometimes severe symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Two additional common symptoms are fatigue and loss of appetite. Less commonly, people may have diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and lack of taste or smell. Some people are asymptomatic, meaning they may not experience symptoms at all.
After exposure, symptoms can take 2-14 days to appear.
How can I be certain I have COVID-19? The best way to determine if you have COVID-19, is to speak with one of our providers during a online visit. If they determine your symptoms may be COVID-19 related, you will be referred for a COVID-19 test. If you are asymptomatic, but are certain you have been exposed, or if you need clearance for work purposes, we also offer IgG antibody testing in conjunction with the COVID-19 test. These tests together, most accurately show whether you have COVID-19, or if you’ve had it in the past.
*Please Note: IgG Antibody Test results and COVID-19 Test results DO NOT determine whether you can spread the virus that causes COVID-19, or imply immunity to the virus.
Are your symptoms consistent with allergies?
According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal allergies are immune system responses triggered by exposure to allergens, such as seasonal tree or grass pollens.
Key symptoms: Two strong indicators that suggest allergies: if you’ve had springtime allergies before, and if itch is a prominent component of your symptoms. People with allergies often have itchy eyes, itchy nose, and sneezing, as well as as a runny, congested nose, and a sore throat or cough that is generally due to postnasal drip.
How can I be certain I have allergies? If you are unsure if you are suffering from seasonal allergies or if it is something else, we recommend having an online visit with one of our providers, who can assess your symptoms virtually. If you’ve found taking medications such as over-the-counter antihistamines or steroid nasal sprays helpful in prior years, then it would be reassuring that if your symptoms improve with these medications, your symptoms may be due to seasonal allergies. As anyone with allergies can attest, allergies linger for months, so the timeline can often be a clue, too.
Here are a few tips provided by National Jewish Health to help ease your seasonal allergy symptoms so that you can better enjoy the spring season.
- Avoid being outdoors on windy days, especially mid-morning to mid-afternoon, when pollen counts are often highest. If you must be out, cover your mouth with a scarf or an allergen mask.
- Keep car and home windows and doors closed, and avoid using electric fans inside the home, which can kick up pollen into the air.
- After returning from outdoors, shower, wash your hair and change your clothing.
- When cleaning, use caution with household cleaning products. Make sure the area to be cleaned is well ventilated. Never mix cleansers such as bleach, disinfectants and deodorizers with ammonia products, either in the bucket or on the surface to be cleaned.
- It is best if non-allergic family members or others do the cleaning. Try to be out of the house during all cleaning, especially during carpet cleaning.
- Avoid being outside when fertilizers and pesticides are applied to the lawns, trees or shrubs in your neighborhood. If you garden, arrange for someone else to remove the leaves and branches that may have collected in your yard or hedges. This type of garbage usually has mold and other particles that can trigger your asthma.
If your symptoms are inconsistent with allergies and COVID-19, it is possible you are suffering from the flu or a common cold.
Platte River Medical Clinic is committed to treating patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries. If you believe you are suffering from a cold or flu, or even COVID-19 or seasonal allergies, we are here for you! You can schedule an online visit today to speak with a provider, have your symptoms assessed virtually and start receiving treatment fast. Click HERE to learn more about our online visit services.
Sources: Harvard Health, National Jewish Health