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Healthier Together: Allergies vs. COVID

Posted at 1:38 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 15:38:03-04

As the seasons change, many allergy sufferers are starting to see symptoms again. But how can you tell if your symptoms are simply fall allergies rather than a cold, the flu, or even COVID-19?

Dr. Jim Polo, Executive Medical Director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah says, “The allergy symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms from infection from COVID.”

He says nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, watery itchy eyes and even headaches and shortness of breath are symptoms that can be caused by seasonal allergies.

“COVID, on the other hand, tends to come with a dry cough, some body fatigues and typically a low-grade fever,” says Polo.

He says the biggest difference between the two is that allergies generally last weeks to months, while COVID symptoms should typically last about 10 days to two weeks, depending on severity.

“If you suspect you may be exposed or are not quite feeling right, try taking your temperature. Remember a normal temperature is 97.9,” says Polo.

He says anything above 100.4 is a low-grade fever and indicates you may be more likely to have COVID as opposed to an allergic reaction to pollen.

Something Dr. Polo advises for everyone should do this time of year is wear a face mask.

“Remember, wearing a mask will decrease your exposure to allergens as well as COVID,” says Polo

And when it doubt, it never hurts to get a COVID test or see your doctor.