611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

member support line
M-F 5pm-8pm
24/7 weekends/holidays

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line


powered by centersite dot net
Medical Disorders
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
Is Rise in Liver Damage Tied to More Drinking During Lockdowns?Bike-Linked Head Injuries Plummet for U.S. Kids, But Not AdultsDialysis Patients Have Weaker Response to COVID Vaccine: StudyWith New Mask Guidance Comes the Challenge of Following ItWeight-Loss Surgery Might Also Help Prevent CataractsAHA News: What to Tell Your Young Teen About Their Shot at the COVID-19 VaccineWhat Works Best to Ease Recurrent Ear Infections in Kids?Mixing COVID Vaccines Might Raise Odds for Minor Reactions: StudyCOVID More Lethal for People Living With HIVNew Drug Shows Promise Against Tough-to-Manage AsthmaFully Vaccinated Can Shed Masks in Most Outdoor, Indoor Settings: CDCAHA News: 5 Things to Know About Blood Pressure Before It's a ProblemModerna Vaccine Can Trigger Red, Itchy 'COVID Arm,' But It's TemporaryCould a Vaccine Against Future Pandemics Be on the Way?Debunking Social Media Myth, Study Finds COVID Vaccine Won't Harm PlacentaU.S. Seniors Are Getting Fewer Abdominal SurgeriesMost Severe COVID Cases Involve Neuro Issues, and They're More Often FatalAny COVID-19 Infection Raises Odds for Lingering Symptoms, Study FindsNew Insights Into Treating Mild Head InjuriesAlcohol Is No Friend to Social DistancingGene-Targeted Drug Shows Promise Against a Form of Pancreatic CancerFDA Approves Emergency Use of Pfizer Vaccine for Those Aged 12 to 15Ibuprofen, Similar Painkillers Won't Raise Risks for COVID PatientsObesity Raises Odds for Many Common CancersAsthma Attacks Plummeted During PandemicWhy Sleep Raises Risk for Sudden Death in People With EpilepsyLockdown Loneliness Making Things Even Tougher for Cancer PatientsCOVID Vaccines May Still Leave Organ Transplant Recipients UnprotectedPfizer, Moderna or J&J? An Expert Answers Your QuestionsHow Summer Camps Can Shield Your Kids from Allergies, Asthma & COVIDCould Your Child Have a Heart Defect? Know the Warning SignsGene Tied to Balding May Also Raise COVID Risks for MenTime Spent in ICU Linked to Higher Odds for Suicide LaterState of Mind Matters for Survival After Heart AttackFailing Kidneys Could Bring Higher Dementia RiskAir Pollution Can Harm Kids' Hearts for a LifetimePoll Finds Many Parents Hesitant to Get Younger Kids VaccinatedObesity More Deadly for Men Than Women When COVID StrikesIsrael Study: Pfizer Vaccine Gives 95% Protection Against Illness, Hospitalization & DeathReal-World Studies Show Pfizer Vaccine Shields Against COVID Variants1 in 4 U.S. Teens Has Had a Concussion: StudyWhat's the Right Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Heart?U.S. COVID Outlook Shows Big Improvement by July'Prediabetes' Raises Odds for Heart Attack, StrokeA Vitamin Could Be Key to Women's Pain After Knee ReplacementBiden Sets New Goal of Vaccinating 70% of Americans by July 4Wildfires Are Changing the Seasonal Air Quality of the U.S. WestMany Americans Wrong About Sun's Skin Cancer Dangers: PollNot Just About Antibodies: Why mRNA COVID Vaccines May Shield From VariantsYou Got Your COVID Shot: What to Do With That Vaccine Card
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Men's Health
Women's Health

Is It Allergies or COVID? Expert Shows How to Tell the Difference

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Apr 19th 2021

new article illustration

MONDAY, April 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Seasonal allergies are striking this year at the worst possible time, with the United States in the midst of a fourth wave of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

You've got an itchy nose and watery eyes. Or maybe you've got a fever and a sore throat. Or you've developed a cough and you have trouble breathing.

Is it COVID-19, or just your usual allergies?

Confusion is perfectly understandable because "a lot of the symptoms are overlapping for mild COVID and seasonal allergies," said Dr. Gregory Levitin, an otolaryngologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, in New York City.

And this allergy season already is shaping up to be pretty severe, according to Dr. Stanley Fineman, a past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

"We've had an unusually bad pollen season," said Fineman, an allergy specialist in Marietta, Ga. "This year we've already had 20 days with the pollen count over 1,000," about as many as during most full spring allergy seasons.

An itchy, runny nose or itchy, watery eyes are the best sign that you're suffering from seasonal allergies rather than COVID-19, Levitin said.

Seasonal allergies happen when your immune system mistakenly identifies pollen from trees, flowers or grass as a dangerous invader, like a bacterium or virus.

As part of its allergic response, your body releases chemicals called histamines. Itching and sneezing are major side effects of the inflammation caused by histamines, along with runny noses and watery eyes.

"That's almost always associated with allergies," Levitin said.

On the other hand, if you're suffering from a fever, get yourself tested for COVID-19.

"COVID can cause a fever. Allergies never cause a fever," Levitin said.

Other symptoms that are more common with COVID-19 include chills, muscle or body aches, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

There also are a great many symptoms in common between COVID-19 and allergies.

For example, loss of taste or smell is now widely known as a COVID-19 symptom, but some folks with allergies might have trouble smelling as well, Levitin noted.

"Sometimes congestion can be so severe with allergies that it leads to a loss of smell, which is one of those symptoms we associate with COVID," he said.

Other common symptoms of both COVID-19 and allergies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

The amount of time you've been miserable provides a big clue as to whether you've got the novel coronavirus or are simply dealing with pollen allergies, Levitin said. A sudden onset of symptoms is more likely with COVID-19.

"You have to tease it out to see if it's part of a two- or three-week course of allergy or are these two or three days of symptoms that started suddenly and unexpectedly, even in the background of allergies," Levitin said.

People who want to protect themselves against seasonal allergies should consider closing their windows, running a HEPA air filter in their home, and putting allergy covers on their pillow cases and mattresses, he suggested.

Folks can treat seasonal allergies using over-the-counter remedies, including steroidal nasal sprays like Flonase or Nasonex, or oral antihistamines like Claritin, Allegra and Zyrtec, Levitin added. Doctors can provide stronger prescription drugs for harsher allergy symptoms.

And if you're truly not sure whether you have COVID-19 or allergies, don't hesitate to be tested.

"Because we are still in a COVID world, I would not want to come across as not suspicious for COVID," Levitin said. "Anyone with not two or three weeks but two or three days of symptoms should talk to a doctor about getting tested."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about allergies versus COVID.

SOURCES: Stanley Fineman, MD, past president, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and allergy specialist, Marietta, Ga.; Gregory Levitin, MD, otolaryngologist, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York City