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COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies? Helpful Hints on Knowing the Difference

Everyone likely has coronavirus on their mind lately, but for allergy sufferers, there might be that nagging question, “Is this a reaction to ragweed or something more?”

There is certainly some overlap between allergy symptoms and symptoms of COVID-19, however, there are also significant differences.

Common Allergy Symptoms

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America, Memphis ranks #15 among the “Most Challenging Places to Live with Allergies.” This means it’s likely that you, or someone close to you, suffer from seasonal allergies.

Common allergy symptoms can include:

  • itchy eyes and nose
  • a runny nose
  • post-nasal drainage
  • ear congestion
  • possibly a cough

Allergy sufferers who have asthma may also experience shortness of breath, which is why maintaining your regular allergy regimen and stocking up on your necessary medications is important.

COVID-19 Symptoms

While COVID-19 sufferers may experience a cough or runny nose, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than 83% experience a fever, which is indicative of an infection, not allergies. It’s important to note that in many patients a fever did not develop until after they were hospitalized.

In addition to fever, the other most commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • cough (and coughing up phlegm)
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle aches

Some COVID-19 patients have also reported the loss of their sense of taste or smell, or having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or nausea. Symptoms of the coronavirus typically appear 2 to 14 different days after exposure through coughing, sneezing, or close contact with someone infected. If you’ve come in contact with someone who has had a positive COVID-19 test, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and self-isolate.

What to Do If You Think You Have COVID-19

If you are unsure if you have COVID, you may want to first call your otolaryngologist or primary care physician for a telehealth visit.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and do not feel well, the City of Memphis recommends that you call a testing site to schedule a free appointment. For a list of testing centers, hours, and phone numbers click here. Essential employees may be tested for free, even without symptoms.

Before going to the emergency room for more severe symptoms, please call first and report your symptoms, recent travel, and exposure.

If you’re outside of Memphis, look for information from your city or county about testing protocols and recommendations.

We’re Here For You

If your allergies or sinus problems are not easily managed through medication, it’s possible that endoscopic surgery may be indicated depending on your condition and symptoms.

Our team of professionals would love to discuss how we can help you find relief from disorders of the ear, nose, and throat. With offices in Bartlett and Memphis, we have many convenient appointment times and are taking every precaution to ensure our patients are seen in a safe environment. You can make a same-day appointment here or by calling our office at 901.821.4300.

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