Every year, when Spring rolls around and exposure to pollen increases, so do allergies. But this year, we are not only experiencing seasonal allergies, but a new viral respiratory illness in COVID-19. Since COVID-19 is something we haven’t experienced before, it is easy to feel concerned with every symptom that creeps up. I have a headache, could this be coronavirus? I’m more tired than usual, could this be coronavirus? You get it, the list goes on.
Here we breakout the simple differences so you can treat your symptoms accordingly.
COVID-19 vs. Seasonal Allergies
Fever, cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness are some of the symptoms seen in COVID-19. These symptoms are not really associated with allergies.
Allergy symptoms include itching of eyes /ears / nose,stuffy nose, and sneezing. Sometimes people will develop a cough.Someone with allergies may also develop a sinus infection which can make them feel tired however it shouldn’t cause severe fatigue that we see with COVID-19.
|Shortness of breath||✓|
|Nasal and eye watering and itching||✓|
|Muscle Pain *||✓|
|Sore Throat *||✓|
|New loss of taste or smell *||✓|
* At least two of these symptoms. This list is not all inclusive. Please talk to your doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
If you are unable to determine if your symptoms are secondary to coronavirus, the flu or allergies based on the above symptoms, talk to your allergist. To help your allergies it’s important to limit exposure to pollen by staying indoors which will also help decrease the spread of the coronavirus. It is also very important to take your allergy medicine and stay in contact with your physician during this time.
The sinus cavities are hollow air spaces with openings into the nose to allow the exchange of air and mucus. They are located inside each cheekbone, behind the eyes, behind the bridge of the nose and in the forehead. Secretions from the sinus cavities normally drain into the nose.
Sinus headaches and pain occur when the sinuses are swollen and their openings into the nasal passages are obstructed, stopping normal drainage and causing pressure to build up.
Often the pain is localized over the affected sinus, perhaps causing facial pain rather than a headache. For example, if the maxillary sinus in the cheeks is obstructed, your cheeks may be tender to the touch and pain may radiate to your jaw and teeth. Obstruction in other sinuses can cause pain on the top of your head or elsewhere. Sinus pain can be dull to intense; it often begins in the morning and becomes less intense after you move from lying flat to sitting or standing in an upright position.
Similar pain can also be caused by severe nasal congestion, particularly if you have a deviated septum or a septal “spur” from a previous nasal injury. Such “headaches” or facial pain can involve one side only.
Don’t let sinus headaches hold you back from the things you love.
“Asthma can also flare up during allergy season, which like COVID-19 can cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, but not fever,” says Bruce DeCotiis, M.D., section chief of allergy and immunology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “People with asthma should follow their treatment carefully and maintain their medications this season. They, like other people with respiratory issues, are at a higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19,” notes Dr. DeCotis.
If you think you have coronavirus, follow these steps to make sure you get the proper care.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
Bruce DeCotiis, M.D. contributes to topics such as Allergy and Immunology .
Mohammad A Younus, M.D. contributes to topics such as Allergy and Immunology.