SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – One of the most stressful parts of living in a pandemic is thinking you have COVID-19 every time you don’t feel well.
With flowers beginning to bloom, health clinics are seeing a lot more people confusing allergy symptoms with the coronavirus.
“There are a lot of overlapping symptoms, and the tricky thing with COVID is it has this wide variety of severity,” said Ingrid Steir, a nurse practitioner at CVS’ MinuteClinic.
“Some people are asymptomatic on one end of the spectrum, and the other people are, as we know, deathly ill,” Steir added.
The coronavirus and seasonal allergies can be equally distressing, but only one can spread from one person to another. Stier says when it comes to her patients, she has to be sure.
“Even if the patient says, ‘Oh I get that every year this time of year, it’s just the pollen,'” said Steir, “We need to rule it out because COVID is so contagious and dangerous to some people.”
COVID-19 and allergies can make you tired, congested, short of breath and stuffy, however, allergies don’t cause fever, aches, chills or loss of sense and smell.
Stier says itchy eyes and sneezing are usually only associated with allergies. She says those symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medicine.
Stier says the only way to be sure is by taking a COVID test.
“Many people just want to know,” said Steir. “They know how to deal with the allergies, they just want to be sure they don’t have COVID and take it home, maybe, to their elderly relative.”