What Are the Differences Between COVID-19 & Allergies?

What Are the Differences Between COVID-19 & Allergies? As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact people across the country and throughout the world, it’s important to be mindful of changes in your health and promptly get to the root of any new or unusual symptoms. For example, if you’re among the millions of Americans with indoor or outdoor allergies, you may be unsure if your sneezing, sore throat and nagging cough is related to bothersome allergens or something more serious.

Only a medical professional with proper testing capabilities can determine if the novel coronavirus is to blame for symptoms you may be experiencing. Still, there are a few key differences between the signs of COVID-19 and allergies that can provide you with some clarity while you wait for your test results. Let’s take a closer look at these conditions and what sets them apart.

COVID-19 & Allergies: The Basics

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the respiratory disease known as COVID-19. This highly contagious illness can cause lung inflammation and mild to severe flu-like symptoms. Allergies, on the other hand, occur when the body’s immune system reacts to an otherwise harmless substance (allergen) such as pollen and pet dander. Unlike COVID-19, allergies are not contagious.

It’s important to note that COVID-19 is a new disease that physicians are learning more about every day. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recognizes that COVID-19 and allergies can share many potential symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

How They Differ

COVID-19 and allergies both affect people in different ways, so it’s difficult to make definitive statements about these conditions and their symptoms. Generally speaking, though, patients with COVID-19 tend to also experience:

  • Fever and chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Allergies are not typically associated with the above symptoms. Instead, someone with allergies is more likely to experience:

  • Sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes

Safe with Us

Tufts Medical Center Community Care features a growing team of infectious disease doctors, primary care physicians and other experts who are committed to meeting the evolving healthcare needs of families throughout north suburban Boston. Our Safe With Us pledge means we’re going above and beyond to ensure a safe care experience for both our patients and staff. Here’s what you can expect when you visit one of our convenient locations:

  • Thorough cleaning and sanitization between appointments
  • Universal masking requirements
  • Staggered appointment times and changes in facilities to promote social distancing
  • Daily employee symptom screening
  • Over-the-phone patient pre-registration and pre-screening

We’re also pleased to offer easy-to-navigate telemedicine appointments to patients with common health concerns or potential COVID-19 symptoms. To learn if telemedicine is right for you, contact our friendly professionals.

Tufts Medical Center Community Care is here for your family during this unique time. To learn more about our multispecialty medical group, infectious disease doctors and how we’re caring for patients during this unique time, give us a call today. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have.

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