Allergies, COVID or just a Cough?

So you have a cough, congestion, sore throat, your body hurts. It is also April and allergies are in full swing. So you sneeze, blow your nose and get a side eye from your coworker who jokingly says “whoa, you’ve got COVID, go home!”

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 rocked the world, and left us all wondering if this sniffle was “the one”. The Coronavirus being a mutant and new trait has remained as the most unpredictable virus in our world. Even after a year, patients present with new symptoms and they vary from one person to another.

COVID-19 has symptoms very similar to that of flu and allergies. Patients suffer from cough, cold, breathlessness, and congestion. The wide variation in symptoms and its unpredictable nature has made COVID a dread for everyone. You’re “barely” going anywhere so what are the chances you’ve got it? So what if you have it, if it is mild does it matter? Knowing if you have COVID-19 can help you prevent the inadvertent spread of the virus to others that might be more susceptible and vulnerable to complications.

So, how do you know the difference? And if it is allergies, what do we do about it?

Here’s a basic comparison chart for your symptoms.

If you think it might be COVID-19, you can take a simple test to make sure you are not spreading the virus to others and protect yourself as well.

A comparison chart for flu vs. cold vs. allergies vs. COVID-19

As is evident, the symptoms vary widely for COVID-19. I have even seen patients with only an earache that have tested COVID-19 positive. If you are suffering from a series of common symptoms, we suggest visiting your healthcare provider and undergoing a COVID-19 test.

Differentiating between COVID and allergies among toddlers

In the past one year it has been observed that COVID had its major effect on toddlers and elderly people. While the elderly and vulnerable showed signs similar to cold and flu, the toddlers showed signs of allergies in the initial phase of COVID.

To distinguish between seasonal allergies vs. COVID in toddlers, you need to understand the basic symptoms of each and where they difference.

Seasonal Allergic symptoms in toddlers:

⦁ A runny nose with clear and thin mucus
⦁ Itchy nose
⦁ Watery eyes, itchiness, and skin redness
⦁ Sneezing
⦁ Sinus pressure
⦁ Dark circles
⦁ Mild sore throat
⦁ Coughing with signs of Asthma
⦁ Nasal congestion

COVID-19 symptoms in toddlers:

⦁ Fever
⦁ Fatigue
⦁ Headaches
⦁ Chills
⦁ Prolonged coughing
⦁ Loss of smell or taste
⦁ Sore throat
⦁ Body aches
⦁ Gastrointestinal disorder like diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting
⦁ Asthma

Seasonal allergies vs. COVID-19: The main differences in toddlers

If the symptom lists confuse you, understand these points as the major difference in symptoms between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies among toddlers.

⦁ Seasonal allergies are never accompanied by body aches or fever.
⦁ COVID-19 does not usually cause sneezing.
⦁ Itching is coming with allergies — itchy eyes, ears nose, throat
⦁ Antihistamines help relieve allergy symptoms, not COVID-19 symptoms.
⦁ If you have a known allergen (food or environmental) it will cause a predictable allergic reaction or symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

When in doubt, come in to be seen and evaluated to get definitive answers and rule out a risk of complications.

Asma Bhaidani, PA-C
Complete Family Wellness

Asma Bhaidani