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How to tell difference between symptoms of allergies & COVID-19

Continuous high pollen count leaves many people sneezing and coughing

Allergy season is in full swing, leaving many sneezing, itching and coughing. And with the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s important to know the difference between allergies and symptoms of the virus.

Dr. Sunil Joshi, an allergist at Family Allergy and Asthma Consultants in Jacksonville, said it’s only natural at a time like this for people to be on edge.

“Of course right now everyone’s...thinking that something else might be going on, so that’s what’s making people even more concerned about it,” Dr. Joshi said.

Seasonal allergies and symptoms of COVID-19 do have a few similarities, especially for asthma patients. The chief difference? Those with coronavirus, or any other virus, will typically have a fever.

“A viral infection typically will cause fevers and that’s one thing with COVID-19 that it is typically causing fevers in people where the allergies don’t usually do that,” Dr. Joshi said.

So if you feel under the weather and you do suffer from seasonal allergies, it’s important to take your temperature to make sure you’re not running a temperature.

“If you go from being a normally healthy person that just has sneezing and wheezing and coughing with your allergies and suddenly you’re having a temperature, at that point you’d want to bring that to medical attention,” Dr. Joshi said.

On top of that, practicing social distancing leaves most of us at home, where it’s tempting to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather. But staying inside with air conditioning might be the best thing to do.

“If you’re stuck inside your house and you’re worried about your seasonal allergies while inside your house, keep the windows closed,” Dr. Joshi said.

Another tip? Wash your pets frequently since it’s easy for their fur to carry pollen in from outside. You can also keep the A/C on to lower the humidity inside your home.

Most importantly, those with seasonal allergies should keep up with medication that manages the symptoms.

“Make sure you’re doing everything you can to manage your seasonal allergies so you can minimize any of these symptoms that may be related to the virus as well,” Dr. Joshi said.


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