In the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, it might be hard to tell if you’ve come down with COVID-19, spring allergies or a cold, which all have some similar symptoms.
Fever and dry cough are common symptoms of COVID-19, along with shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, sore throat, diarrhea, fatigue, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, and body aches.
But it’s rare for fever or diarrhea to occur with a cold or seasonal allergies, according to Dr. Michael Benninger, chairman of the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.
“It’s a matter of taking a logical approach to symptoms,” he said in a clinic news release.
If you don’t have a fever, difficulty breathing or diarrhea, then you probably have a cold or seasonal allergies.
We’re fully into the allergy season now, “so we know that it’s going to be very difficult for a lot of people at this time to distinguish between their allergies and whether or not they have something more significant,” Benninger said.
Sneezing often occurs with both allergies and a cold, but other symptoms can help you tell the difference between them.
“Usually a cold doesn’t have itchy eyes,” Benninger said. “If you have a cough, that’s more strongly associated with a common cold than allergies unless you have allergic asthma.”
Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath are symptoms associated with coronavirus, but can also be signs of asthma that can flare up during allergy season. If you don’t have a fever along with these symptoms, asthma could be the culprit, according to Benninger.
He said people with asthma need to stay on top of their treatment, especially since people with respiratory conditions are at risk of potentially severe illness from the new coronavirus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
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