In the time of this COVID pandemic, a sneeze or runny nose out in public may get you some questioning looks, and that can be awkward when you have seasonal allergies. You might be concerned yourself if you have allergies because how can you know whether you just have allergies or COVID? And does living with allergies affect how you should deal with COVID?
Differences Between Allergies and COVID-19 Symptoms
If you have seasonal allergies, then it’s good to know what symptoms are your allergies acting up and which symptoms could signal having COVID.
Typical Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies
- Runny, itchy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Symptoms get worse around the triggering allergens
Typical Symptoms of COVID-19
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Symptoms usually come on suddenly
If you’ve experienced allergies before, keep an eye out to see if your symptoms and environment fit what you usually experience for your allergies.
One symptom you can generally use to distinguish whether you have allergies or COVID is itchy eyes. If you notice more eye irritation, you probably have allergies. Once you take note of that, you can adjust your eye care accordingly.
Using a cold compress helps soothe itchy, puffy eyes. Trying placing one over your eyes at night. It’s also important to keep your eyes hydrated. Optometry recommends using over the counter artificial tears to keep your eyes from getting dry.
On the other hand, if you’re unwilling to give up your contacts, use daily, disposable contacts to decrease the chances of those tiny allergens getting stuck on them.
Continue Using Your Allergy Medication
You don’t need to worry about stopping your allergy medication. Taking anti-histamines or using nasal sprays won’t increase your risk of getting COVID. And, in case you’re concerned about it, people with allergies are not at a higher risk of catching COVID than the average individual.
In fact, if you use your allergy medication and your symptoms lessen, it’s another good indicator that you have allergies and not COVID.
Get a COVID Test
If you’re still unsure whether your symptoms are due to allergies or the coronavirus, schedule a COVID test. Tell the medical facility ahead of time that you’re experiencing symptoms that could be caused by COVID so that appropriate measures can be taken.
There’s no way having allergies will cause you to have a false positive test result. COVID tests look for genetic material or proteins specific to the virus.
You Don’t Have to be Afraid of the Season
It can be intimidating trying to manage allergies during a pandemic with a virus that has some similar symptoms. However, you can take steps to confirm whether what you have is allergies or COVID, so don’t let the allergy season scare you. After doing some research, you can enjoy the season fully.