Loyola Medicine Allergies Explains the Difference, and Why You Should Keep Allergy and Asthma Symptoms Under Control During This Pandemic
MAYWOOD, IL—Spring allergies are in full force. So how do you know if your symptoms are due to allergies or the COVID-19 virus?
In a new video, “How allergy symptoms differ from COVID-19,” Loyola Medicine allergist Rachna Shah, MD, outlines the different symptoms for each, and why it's important to keep your spring allergy and asthma symptoms under control during this pandemic.
“This spring allergy season has been especially challenging because of the pandemic of COVID-19,” says Dr. Shah, “and a lot of my patients, and a lot of allergy suffers, can have a hard time distinguishing between what is an allergy and what are symptoms of COVID-19.”
The symptoms of seasonal allergies are typically itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose and post-nasal drip. The symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea and sometimes, a sore throat.
“The big differentiating factor between allergies and COVID-19 are those itchy symptoms,” says Dr. Shah, “itchy eyes, itchy nose and sneezing. If you are experiencing these, they are most likely due to environmental allergies and not COVID-19.”
Many people with allergies also suffer from asthma, a chronic inflammation of the lungs.
“Asthma can also make you more susceptible to having more severe symptoms of COVID-19,” says Dr. Shah. “So, it is really important to have an up-to-date action plan for both your allergies and for your asthma.”
“Often, when people are feeling well, they will become more lax about following their treatment plans,” says Dr. Shah. Instead, patients should be “vigilant” in taking all medications as prescribed and having additional inhalers and refills.
To minimize allergy symptoms, Dr. Shah also recommends avoiding allergens. This can be done by keeping windows closed, and/or rinsing off or changing clothes after being outside. Many of the current restrictions for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including staying at home, can also help to minimize allergy and asthma symptoms this spring.