ROCHESTER, Minn. - It's that time of year where many are suffering from seasonal allergies. But at first, you might be wondering if your symptoms are being caused by something else.
Most of the symptoms for seasonal allergies and COVID-19 are exactly the same. But there are a few major differences that you need to be aware of.
There are several things that can cause allergies, including pet dandruff, dust, or pollen. The good news is you can get tested to know exactly what brings on the symptoms. To help control some of the outdoor allergens, Mayo Clinic Dr. Jeffrey Volcheck, recommends keeping your windows closed and even wearing a face mask can be helpful.
Dr. Volcheck said people oftentimes mistake allergies for other things. "Allergies for a long time and still now are called hay fever, which is really a misnomer because a fever isn't typically part of an allergy reaction," he explained. But it just leads to sometimes some of the misconceptions that can occur when people are talking about allergies when other things can be happening."
With allergies, you can experience itchy watery eyes, a runny nose, congestion, headache, fatigue, sneezing, coughing or shortness of breath. COVID-19 brings on some of those symptoms as well, but you can tell the difference if you have a fever, sore throat, body aches, nausea or a loss of taste and smell.
Dr. Volcheck explained because there's so much overlap with the symptoms, doctors are trying to play it safe right now. "If people were being seen for that, oftentimes they would have to get tested first to see," he said. "First, rule out COVID, basically. Then deal with whatever else is going on."
Knowing your history with seasonal allergies is helpful, said Dr. Volcheck, because then you'll have a better idea of knowing that's what it is or if you think it could be COVID-19. He explained if the allergy medicine you're taking seems to keep your symptoms at bay, then there's no need to see an allergist. But if your symptoms worsen or nothing helps, it could cause asthma and that's when it's recommended you see an allergist.