Seasonal Allergies vs. Influenza vs. Coronavirus
Spring typically brings warm weather and with it, allergies. With Covid-19, we are faced with the challenge of having to differentiate between non-transmissible allergies and transmissible influenza and Covid-19.
It Is important as patients that we understand the differences between each condition.
Allergies. We tend to get allergies the same general time every year we have in the past. Typical allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, congestion, cough, wheezing, and post-nasal drip. One can also get itchy skin at times if the allergen exposure is particularly high. Sore throat is a rare symptom. Itchy eyes and sneezing are not typical in Coronavirus infections.
Influenza or “The Flu”. This is the seasonal flu that tends to flare late winter, early spring. Symptoms often include body aches, runny nose, fever, and cough. A flu shot can often prevent or lessen the severity of illness. If you think you might have the flu, try and get In touch with your PCP to possibly take Tamiflu if indicated. You can also take OTC meds like Tylenol for the muscle aches or Theraflu for congestion, cough and sore throat
Covid19 is also a viral illness. It typically starts with a sore throat and a low-grade fever. It often rapidly progresses to a dry cough and difficulty breathing along with worsening muscle aches. Often times, however, younger/healthier patients are reporting a low-grade fever with a mild sore throat and body aches. You generally do not have sinus symptoms. Other patients are in between. If you are “sick” like this you should try and take care of yourself at home and avoid other people. You will either keep other patients healthy or avoid really getting sick by catching something more serious from someone who is already sick seeking medical attention. Almost all sick Coronavirus patients have a fever. “This novel coronavirus causes a respiratory illness manifested by fever, cough and difficulty breathing,” said Dr. Virginia Bieluch, the chief of infectious diseases at The Hospital of Central Connecticut,
In an effort to keep from exposing other patients in case you are infectious, if you suspect you have a Covid19 and are not having difficulty breathing, please stay home and take Tylenol and stay hydrated and get rest.
To complicate matters, you can have more than 1 condition at a time.
Call your doctor if you are confused. Given the heightened threat of coronavirus and the stress on the state’s healthcare system, do not go to a doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital emergency department without calling first.
Meet the Physician Collaborator
Dr. Morris Nejat is an allergist and immunologist that specializes in hay fever, asthma, sinusitis, and food allergies. He is board-certified with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and the American Board of Pediatrics. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Nejat by calling 212-686-4448 or book an appointment online.