Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and COVID-19 symptoms

Written by Jon Phillips, BCBSMS Wellness Coach

As we approach allergy season and since allergy symptoms share many similarities to COVID-19 symptoms, it may be difficult to distinguish between the two. However, there are a few distinctions between these conditions which are helpful to know at the onset of any symptoms.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies vs. COVID-19
*Seasonal allergies do not usually cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, unless a person has a respiratory condition such as asthma that can be triggered by exposure to pollen.

Seasonal Allergies vs. COVID-19 Symptoms

Although not unheard of, it is uncommon for seasonal allergies to produce a fever. And though not all COVID-19 cases present with fever, it is one of the main symptoms out of the cluster of known symptoms that present with positive COVID-19 cases.

It is helpful to consider pre-existing conditions when evaluating one’s symptoms. It is not common for seasonal allergies to result in difficulty breathing unless an individual has a history of pollen or other irritant-induced respiratory events. If a person has a pre-existing respiratory condition such as asthma or COPD, seasonal allergies could affect their breathing with or without COVID-19 being implicated. Therefore, it is worth considering the presence or absence of other symptoms.

Seasonal allergies commonly result in sneezing and⁄or itchy eyes. If such symptoms are present in the absence of more indicative COVID-19 symptoms such as body aches⁄chills, new loss of taste or smell, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea, it may indicate seasonal allergies are the more reasonable suspect.

There are overlapping symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies which are helpful to be aware of. And remember, if in doubt it is recommended to proceed with an abundance of caution as to not risk infecting others if you are in fact positive for COVID-19. Distance yourself from others and consult your Blue Primary Care Provider to determine if COVID-19 testing is recommended.


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