Key Differences Between COVID and Allergies

Does every cough, sneeze or tickle in the throat make you wonder if you’ve contracted COVID-19 or perhaps a cold or the flu? You’re not alone. Each year, millions of people suffer from allergies, many of whom second guess or overanalyze every symptom trying to decipher between COVID vs allergies, the common cold or the flu.

Allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, occur seasonally or last year-round. They’re caused by an overreaction of the immune system when it encounters certain allergens, like pollen, dust or mold. Fortunately, they’re not contagious. Short-term symptoms are often treatable with over-the-counter antihistamines, while long-lasting symptoms can be treated with allergy immunotherapy, or allergy shots, to help sufferers find long-term relief.

Symptoms of COVID vs allergies

Let’s look at symptoms of coronavirus vs allergies. Unlike the common cold and COVID, seasonal allergies are not caused by a virus and tend to linger for several weeks. COVID is known for causing a shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, but allergies do not usually cause these symptoms unless you have a co-occurring respiratory condition like asthma. Moreover, COVID typically presents with symptoms like fever, muscle aches, sore throat and occasionally diarrhea and vomiting, which are not associated with seasonal allergies. Common allergy symptoms not typically present in COVID patients include sneezing and itchiness in the eyes, nose, mouth and inner ear.

Common allergy symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Itchy nose or ears
  • Post-nasal drip (which can sometimes cause a mild sore throat)
  • Mild fatigue

Common COVID-19 symptoms

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Intense fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Loss of taste
  • Loss of smell

Key points to determine COVID symptoms vs allergies

If you’re not feeling well, there are a few important things to consider when comparing COVID vs allergies:

  • Allergy sufferers often have a history of seasonal allergies.
  • Allergy symptoms tend to be more long-lasting than viral symptoms.
  • Allergy symptoms respond to allergy medications.
  • Allergies typically make people itchy, which is not a symptom of a viral illness.
  • Allergies do not cause a fever, which is a common symptom of COVID.
  • Allergies may cause wheezing, especially for those who also have asthma. COVID typically does not cause wheezing.

If you’re not feeling well and want to get your flu symptoms checked, visit Oxford Urgent Care. We accept walk-in appointments 7 days a week from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and can help alleviate cold or flu symptoms as well as long-lasting allergy symptoms.

As many people head back to in-person school or work this fall, it’s important to get the flu vaccine. The 2021-2022 flu season is expected to begin in the fall, so make sure you and your loved ones are protected. The flu vaccine is very safe. In fact, hundreds of millions of people have safely received flu vaccines for more than 50 years. The good news is you can get the flu vaccine and any other routine vaccinations the same day as your COVID vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first COVID vaccine, known as Pfizer-BioNTech for people aged 12 and older. Getting vaccinated has never been easier, and it can not only save you sick days at work, but it can also keep you out of the hospital and save your life.