“How do I know if I have COVID-19 or if it’s just my allergies?"

By: Lisa Dannemiller, Interim Chief University Physician


Spring is in the air which means the return of pesky allergy symptoms to many people. Warmer weather and spending more time outside can precipitate allergy symptoms. With the current COVID-19 Pandemic, people may wonder how they will know if their symptoms are from allergies or COVID-19. In typical allergy symptoms, you will not have a fever or body aches which occurs with COVID-19, flu and other viral infections. If your symptoms feel different than your normal allergy symptoms, that could be a sign that you have COVID-19 or another type of viral infection. Sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, runny nose and nasal congestion are common allergy symptoms, but can occur with COVID-19. Both conditions have also been associated with experiencing a loss of smell and taste senses. 

The most common symptoms with COVID-19 are cough, fever and difficulty with breathing. Cough is also seen with allergies but is usually due to a postnasal drip or asthma. COVID-19 can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms and fatigue which are not typical symptoms associated with allergies. Most people with allergies may recognize their symptoms from previous allergy seasons. If you treat your allergies with allergy medicine, your symptoms should improve. If you have fever or body aches or your symptoms feel different than your normally allergy symptoms, that could be a sign that you have a viral infection including COVID-19 and that you should contact your physician. 

The following is a chart that will help to better define symptoms, and whether or not they are Coronavirus (Covid-19), a cold, the flu, or the onset of allergies:

Allergy vs COVID-19 Chart
POSTED: Friday, May 1, 2020 - 11:59pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 12:34pm
Lisa Dannemiller