West River ENT & Allergy

How Do You Know If You Have Allergies, Asthma, the Flu, or COVID-19?

Now that we have been aware of COVID-19 for a year, it is likely that you have questioned at least once whether you had come down with this illness. While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations around the world have worked to keep the public abreast of symptoms to be aware of, the fact remains that some COVID symptoms can overlap with symptoms of other conditions, such as asthma, allergies, or the flu. A simple cough can leave you wondering whether you were exposed to an allergen or the coronavirus. So, how do you know what your symptoms mean?

First, let’s review the symptoms of COVID-19. According to the latest information from the CDC, this illness is marked by the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of smell or taste
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting

(Please note that if you or a loved one is experiencing difficulty breathing, bluish lips or face, inability to wake or stay awake, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, or new confusion, you should immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency medical facility.)

The trouble begins when you consider that many of the symptoms of COVID-19 listed above can also be symptoms of asthma, allergies, or the flu. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, you will likely need a test performed by a medical professional to determine whether you have COVID or the flu. Both of these illnesses are caused by viruses and can have very similar signs and symptoms.

While many symptoms of COVID can also overlap with those of allergies or asthma, there are a few that can point you in the right direction. You are more likely to have allergies if you experience these symptoms:

  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Rashes
  • Swelling
  • Hives

On the other hand, these symptoms of COVID are usually not found in people suffering from seasonal allergies:

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

Signs of asthma include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness

One way to help you determine whether you have COVID-19, allergies, or asthma is to consider whether your symptoms seemed to have been triggered by something particular, such as pollen, dust mites, or cat dander. Allergies and asthma have triggers, while COVID is spread by exposure to the coronavirus. In addition, a very short period of time with intense symptoms may be more indicative of an aggressive allergy or asthma attack.

The best way to know whether you are suffering from allergies, asthma, the flu, or COVID-19 is to seek specialized care and be evaluated by a medical professional. If you have any questions about the symptoms of these conditions and how you can tell them apart, please feel free to contact our ENT practice today. We are here to provide you with the information you need.

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