Know the Symptoms: COVID-19 and Seasonal Allergies
BY KATIE CAVENDER
By now, it’s happened to all of us. With one minor symptom, our mind begins to race. Do I have seasonal allergies? Maybe it’s COVID-19? How can I know the difference? While seasonal allergies do not include some of the same symptoms as COVID-19, it can still be difficult to distinguish the root cause of your symptoms without speaking with a provider.
Symptoms and treatment for seasonal allergies
Runny nose, coughing, fatigue and headache are all symptoms of seasonal allergies. With allergies, you have itchy and watery eyes as well. If you have significant muscle pain or sudden loss of taste and smell, you can rule out allergies as the cause.
If you aren’t finding allergy relief with over-the-counter medication, schedule an appointment at an LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat practice near you. At your appointment, a provider will discuss environmental allergy testing and treatment.
Many people with seasonal allergies can benefit from immunotherapy, which is covered by most insurance plans.
During this treatment, you are given very small doses of the allergen by injection in the office once a week, which gradually modifies the body’s overreactive immune response. Allergy shots can take four to six months to reach maximum effectiveness. It is recommended to continue allergy injections weekly for three to five years. After this time frame, the injection schedule can eventually be modified to biweekly and then monthly, depending on your tolerance and response. The long-term commitment can be worth it.
Over-the-counter and prescription medications and steroid injections are also available for people who are not candidates for immunotherapy or don’t want to get them. You will receive customized treatment that takes your preferences into consideration.
Symptoms and treatment for COVID-19
Common COVID-19 symptoms include:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your provider or schedule a virtual visit. Your provider will evaluate your symptoms to see if a test is needed. Most COVID-19 tests at Lehigh Valley Health Network will detect whether you have RSV, influenza A and B, or COVID-19 with one swab. The tests are highly accurate, and there is an extremely low possibility of a false positive. Your doctor also will provide quarantine guidance.
No over-the-counter supplement has been clinically evaluated and determined to be protective or able to decrease the chance of complications from COVID-19. However, everyone age 16 and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. All COVID-19 vaccines available to the public have been proven to be safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Vaccines are not fully effective until two weeks after your final dose. Also, remember to keep up the COVID-19 safety measures you already know: Wash your hands often, wear a mask, social distance and stay home if you feel sick.
No matter your symptoms, a provider can help you with next steps. Learn more about virtual care at LVHN.org/virtual.