What is the difference between allergies and COVID-19 symptoms?

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — With spring pollen arriving as COVID-19 spreads, there have been some questions about the difference in symptoms.

Allergies tend to be sneezing, watery or itchy eyes, and you may have some drainage. 

You could also have coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, which is similar to COVID-19 symptoms, but Dr. Gene France, an allergist with Little Rock Allergy and Asthma Clinic said a person would have these more severe allergy symptoms every season.

“You can have shortness of breath if you have asthma, but typically, you know you have asthma. It’s not an acute onset, like it is with a coronavirus infection,” said Dr. France.

COVID-19 can seem like a cold or the flu, but overtime it can become worse. These symptoms can be mild for many people, but there are key reactions to look out for to know the difference between the coronavirus and seasonal allergies.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Medical Director for Immunizations at the Arkansas Department of Health said fever, cough, and shortness of breath are symptoms of COVID-19.

“The fever and shortness of breath is the major difference. You don’t have fever with allergies,” said Dr. France.

If you think you have COVID-19, do not go to the emergency room or doctor’s office. Call the hotlines or go to one of the screening sites around Arkansas. 

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