Allergy symptoms or COVID-19? Here’s how you can spot the difference


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Spring has sprung, and those with seasonal allergies will begin experiencing the symptoms that come with high pollen counts.

But how can you determine if your symptoms are from allergies or COVID-19?

Dr. Penny Dennehy, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, said the difference is seen in the parts of the body that are affected: allergy symptoms usually affect the upper body, while COVID-19 affects the lungs.

“Everything with allergies is upper airway, head, throat, eyes, nose. Itchy, itchy, itchy,” Dennehy said. “COVID-19 has very little upper respiratory symptoms. Most people are not describing runny nose; most people are not describing a sore throat or itchy throat.”

“Most people are describing they are feeling coughing and short of breath, feeling really exhausted and muscle aches and pains,” she added. “None of those things happen with allergies.”

Dennehy said if you can’t determine what is causing your symptoms, you should call your primary care provider before going to the hospital.

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