SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — If you have allergies, no one needs to tell you that this time of year is just uncomfortable but are you sure that’s what you really have?
That seems to be the key question these days as many recognize that newer COVID-19 variants now display cold-like symptoms that can be similar to allergies.
When the pandemic began, COVID patients displayed flu-like symptoms, including high fever, chills and chest pains.
“With omicron and some of the newer strains, COVID has become a much milder illness so that now you’re seeing symptoms overlap so that now you’re seeing symptoms much more closely overlap a common cold or even seasonal allergies, said Dr. Frank Contacessa who is an Internist.
“Obviously, in the setting of COVID, anytime you’re not feeling 100% you’re going to be fearful of COVID,” Contacessa said.
When you have allergies you almost always have itchy eyes, sneezing and that awful postnasal drip. But now, symptoms of both allergies and COVID can include a runny nose, sore throat and cough. COVID can include not only those coldlike symptoms but the ones normally associated with the virus such as a fever, trouble breathing and loss of taste and smell.
Contacessa says one of the easiest questions to ask is do you get sick every spring?
“So, if you know you’re the kind of person that as soon as the trees bloom in March and April and you start to get allergies and now you have allergies symptoms well, then the chances are it’s that,” Contacessa said. “But if you’ve never been an allergy-prone person and now, you’re having runny nose, postnasal drip and you’re feeling kind of lousy well then maybe you should be tested for COVID.”
Another point about allergies according to Dr. Stephen Thacker from Memorial Health is whether you feel better when taking normal medications.
“For true seasonal allergies you will respond well to the things used to treat allergies, whether it be inhaled sprays in the nose or pills that we take like Allegra or Claritin that are over the counter,” Thacker said. “That should be giving you some indication that it’s likely an allergy that’s improving and not COVID-19.”
Allergies can be miserable but it’s not something you can spread like COVID. And while many now may experience the milder COVID symptoms, it may still be important for you to know whether you have the COVID virus.
Again, if normal allergy remedies are helping it may be safe to assume that you only have allergies. However, if you have concerns and additional symptoms such as a continuing fever, you should reach out to your doctor for treatment and take a COVID test.