Doctor explains differences between allergies and COVID-19 symptoms

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M— The pandemic is overlapping with seasonal allergies again. It can be tricky to figure out if the coughing and sneezing is COVID-19 or allergies.

Dr. Steven Tolber, with Advance Allergy Associates of New Mexico, said people can get the two mixed up.

One big difference between the two is how they affect the lungs.

"COVID can set off asthma if you have it, but often if you don’t have asthma, you’ll just be coughing and short of breath,” he said.

He added that allergies aren’t known for causing respiratory issues, but some of its symptoms are similar to COVID-19.

Allergies ca cause sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose and itchiness in the eyes, nose, ear or throat. They could bring on a cough, sore throat and fatigue. However, allergies don’t cause a fever like COVID-19 does:

Coronavirus can also cause a cough, muscle aches, fatigue, a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat and loss of taste or smell.

"People with allergies can have some decrease in sense of smell–but it’s fairly uncommon for an allergy person to have complete absence of smell and it’s often rather sudden,” he said.

Both COVID-19 and allergies can cause a cough, fatigue, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose.

Dr. Tolber said antihistamines can help people rule out coronavirus.

"If your medication is working for you, be it pills or nasal sprays, nasal steroids for example, than it’s likely an allergic condition,” he said.

Allergies do tend to return, so Dr. Tolber said to visit an allergist if anyone is second guessing their symptoms.