Sorting through your symptoms: allergies or COVID-19?

Posted at 7:23 AM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 14:00:16-05

Over the past year, many people have become more self-aware and critical when they don’t physically feel well. March and April typically mark the height of Arizona’s allergy season, so what symptoms can you expect and how do you know if they represent something more severe?

“Allergy symptoms, in general, are real itchy and irritating...the COVID symptoms for most individuals, even with mild cases — they’re feeling really yucky,” Danielle Schoon, a Valley nurse practitioner with CVS’s MinuteClinic, told ABC15.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, both COVID-19 and seasonal allergies can cause cough, fatigue, headaches, and congestion. Fever and chills are more likely a sign of coronavirus or flu while sneezing and watery eyes are more likely allergy symptoms. Still, Schoon said there is a unique trait that could help you identify your illness.

“The big symptom that they do not share is [that] COVID often comes with the really hallmark, slam-dunk symptom of sudden loss of taste and smell,” she said. “That is a really reliable indicator that this is not a plain virus or seasonal allergies but, indeed, this is likely the pandemic infection.”

Still, she urges anyone who thinks they may have COVID-19 or who may have come into contact with someone who does to get tested. Given that symptoms can vary from person to person, “a lot of times the only way to truly distinguish between the two is to get a test done,” she said.