Allergies or COVID-19?

March 24, 2020

How do you know if the nasal congestion and sneezing you’re experiencing is spring allergies or COVID-19?

“If you have fever, it isn’t allergies,” said Russell Traister, M.D., assistant professor of pulmonary, critical care, allergy and immunologic diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Health. “Also, if taking an antihistamine improves your symptoms, it is likely allergies and not a virus.”

Allergy symptoms:

  • Itchy, watery eyes and nose
  • Nasal congestion or stuffiness and post-nasal drainage
  • No cough, unless you also have asthma

COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath

“Adults who are over 50 and have never experienced seasonal allergies before are not likely to develop them now,” he said. “If you are sensitive to tree pollen, staying indoors and keeping the windows closed can help minimize symptoms.”


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