As mercury grows each spring, the amount of pollen and grass that cause allergic reactions increases. However, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, experts say there is no need to panic.

Catherine Monteleone, an allergist and immunologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, said seasonal allergies do not make people more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as cough, however, may coincide with symptoms of COVID-19, making the virus harder to diagnose without testing, she added.

“You can make a checklist,” Monteleone said. “Ask yourself: What are the symptoms I’m feeling? And if I’ve had an allergy before, is it any different?”

COVID-19 warning signs

Monteleone said the symptomatologists should first look at the history of seasonal allergies and try to sort out any inconsistencies. Common signs of allergies, such as itching, watery eyes and sneezing, are rarely associated with COVID-19, she said.

However, bowel problems are rarely linked to seasonal allergies, she added. Headaches, fatigue, runny nose and sore throat are common to both.

A checklist created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can help people sort out their symptoms.

James Mitchell, a doctor at the Paramus American Family Care Clinic, said that even the symptoms of COVID-19 olfactory loss can be similarly caused by nasal congestion caused by allergies. Loss of taste, however, is less likely to be related to allergies.

Mitchell and Monteleone said the fever is probably the biggest warning sign that symptoms of an acute allergic reaction may be due to COVID-19.

“Allergies usually don’t have a fever, muscle aches, or a flu-like feeling,” Monteleone said. “Sure, you’re tired of allergies, but usually no muscle pain.”

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