It’s that time of the year again—seasonal allergies are returning. With spring approaching and people taking to the outdoors more with the warming weather, allergies can really wreak havoc. What’s more is that coronavirus continues to spread and unfortunately shares similar symptoms of seasonal allergies. Unsure if you’re sick or have allergies? Read on to learn some major differences.
Seasonal allergies affect nearly 8% of Americans.
What are seasonal allergies? Seasonal allergies are an allergic response most commonly caused by tree, grass and ragweed pollens. It is also called allergic rhinitis.
When do seasonal allergies start? Seasonal allergies can begin to occur as early as February, when tree pollination starts and continue through the spring and summer months with grass and ragweed pollens.
Mild winters can cause plants to pollinate early as well as warm, rainy springs as this promotes plant growth.
How can I protect myself? If you know that you have seasonal allergies, it’s important to note the weather. Warm, windy days are the worst if you have allergies. On these days, limit your outdoor time, wash your hands, face and clothes upon returning inside.
Additionally, you may take an over-the-counter antihistamine to limit the severity of your allergen response.
Seasonal allergies can occur year-round depending on geographical climate.
Are seasonal allergies similar to COVID-19? Yes and no. The coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, is an infectious, upper respiratory infection spread between humans. Seasonal allergies are not contagious.
However, symptoms of seasonal allergies and COVID-19 can be similar, with a few important distinctions.
Symptoms of COVID-19 similar to seasonal allergies:
- Sore throat
- Congestion, runny nose
Symptoms of COVID-19 NOT similar to seasonal allergies:
- Fever, chills
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
Symptoms of seasonal allergies NOT similar to COVID-19:
- Running, watery or itchy eyes
It’s important to note that these lists of symptoms are not exclusive and many other symptoms of both seasonal allergies and COVID-19 may exist. If you believe you have a problem with seasonal allergies, talk with your primary care provider for relief and mitigation options.
If you believe that you have contracted COVID-19, do NOT go to your clinic. Stay at home and call your primary care provider for guidance.
Sources: cdc.gov, acaai.org