Is it Allergies or COVID-19?

Posted on October 21, 2020

Category: Signs and Symptoms

A runny nose, itchy eyes and scratchy throat are all too familiar for those with allergies. As the days get shorter and the weather begins to change, allergies come out in full force. But as we enter fall allergy season, every sneeze or cough may raise concern.

In today’s world, COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds. By now, everyone knows that COVID-19 produces symptoms that come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of severity. That’s what makes this viral disease so dangerous. Because of the wide variety of symptoms, it’s easy to mistake allergies for COVID-19 (or vice versa). We’re here to squash any doubt about these two ailments.

Here Are the Differences Between Allergies and COVID-19.

All About Allergies

Allergies strike when your immune system reacts to specific substances. These substances can range from ragweed, mold, dander and dust etc. These allergens are typically harmless to your body, but the overreaction produces allergy symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose, eyes or mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Hives
  • Puffy eyes


The unique thing about an allergy is its immediacy. Most allergic reactions occur within seconds or minutes after allergen exposure. In the rarest of cases, reactions develop after 24 hours. This is an easy way to determine if you’ve got allergies.


Symptoms may appear anywhere between two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. The most unique COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Body aches
  • Headache


A defining trait of COVID-19 is fever. People with allergies do not develop a fever. If you’re experiencing allergy-like symptoms but have a raised body temperature, you could have COVID-19. Always contact your physician if you are uncertain of your condition. The only way to truly know if you’ve been stricken by COVID-19 is through testing. If in doubt, take precautions to protect those around you: wear a mask, keep your distance from others and even quarantine yourself, and wash your hands thoroughly. Again, testing and consultation with a physician is the only way to be sure.

How to Differentiate

Apart from a few different symptoms, the easiest way to distinguish allergies and COVID-19 is through their timelines. People with allergies typically have a history of seasonal allergies. If you’ve experienced these symptoms year after year, you’re probably struck by allergies. Also, allergy symptoms tend to be more long-lasting than COVID-19 symptoms — they can last a whole season, while COVID-19 symptoms typically last within a two-week period. An easy way to end seasonal allergies is through prevention. Avoid known triggers, keep windows shut and consider wearing a mask outside. If symptoms persist, reach out to your physician.

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