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Do you have allergies or COVID-19 symptoms?

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 4:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Sneezing, coughing and teary eyes are all symptoms of this particularly atrocious allergy season. With fall bringing an increase in COVID-19 cases, it begs the question: how can you tell if it’s allergies or a case of the coronavirus?

Clarifying the key differences between the two can be confusing.

“Some of the things that we would not see when it comes to allergies would be things like fevers, changes in muscle aches or shortness of breath,” nurse practitioner and allergy specialist at Bellin Health, Rachel Chastain, said.

Shared symptoms between COVID-19 and seasonal allergies include nasal congestion and a runny nose. Irritating conditions that have plagued many people this summer and may continue into the fall.

“There are a lot of factors that contribute to whether or not an allergy season is significant or more minor,” Chastain explained. “It can have to do with weather patterns. It can have to do with humidity or temperature. But certainly, this year a lot of the patients that I have talked to have explained to me they feel like their symptoms have been very pronounced and lasted a long time.”

In northeast Wisconsin, we see tree pollen in the spring and weed pollen in the fall. Monday, September 27, had a very high risk of allergy and asthma symptoms for weeds and mold spores, according to Kagen Allergy Clinic. (To check the daily allergy report from Kagen Allergy clinic, click here).

Chastain recommended considering your current environment before jumping to any conclusion when it comes to deciphering between having allergies or COVID-19.

“A lot of times, patients will tell me that for two weeks every August they have this terrible set of symptoms then we can tag it right along with ragweed season,” Chastain shared. “But, if it’s a new onset thing. If it’s a change from your personal baseline. That raises a little more concern.”

When in doubt, talk to your doctor or allergy specialist about how you’re feeling. They can help you avoid allergy triggers or provide medication.

If you think you have COVID-19, the C.D.C. recommends that you self-isolate, rest, and tell those you’ve been in close contact with about your condition. (To learn more from the C.D.C. click here.)

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