How to distinguish between COVID-19 and budding spring allergies? It’s not easy!

The increasing number of warm days is also leading to higher quantities of allergens in the air. The problem is that allergies often provoke similar problems as a COVID-19 infection. How can you distinguish between them and where can you seek help?

Distinguishing between the symptoms of allergies and the COVID-19 infection is not that simple. A stuffy nose, cold, loss of smell, irritating cough or shortness of breath – these are all symptoms that accompany both problems.
How do they differ? In the case of allergies, the patient generally does not suffer from a fever, but it is not always present in those with COVID-19 either. The same applies to joint pain or fatigue, which is rather more typical of a viral infection. Fatigue may also be an accompanying symptom of allergies, but if the sufferer is property treated, it is not as apparent.
So, what should warn an allergy sufferer that the symptoms may be more than an allergy? Primarily if they have an elevated temperature and joint pain. Another warning signal is if the problems manifest themselves somewhat differently than in previous years. Also, take heed if the treatment that usually alleviates the allergy sufferer’s problems does not work. This happens quite often, because allergies develop and the symptoms may change from year to year, but the patient should take note that something might not be right.
In any case, it is essential that allergy sufferers observe all of the doctor’s recommendations, which should help the problems subside quickly. Treatment must be commenced in time, not only after problems have occurred. This is especially valid for asthma sufferers, who otherwise risk damage to the lungs. Damaged lungs are definitely a risk, not only in the case of the COVID-19 infection.

Allergies and immunity
If you suffer from allergies and use the right treatment, you need not worry that your body’s immunity will be reduced in any significant way. If the allergy is not fully under control, it will require extra attention, because otherwise there is a risk of inflammation in the body, which can substantially worsen the infected patient’s condition.
A few seemingly banal, but important things suffice to improve immunity. Eat enough vitamins and maintain a balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients. Try to avoid stress, because stress substantially reduces the ability to fight infection. The days are getting sunny, and sunshine can also help. Even if you can’t go outside, at least have a coffee on the balcony and don’t forget to ventilate.

First problems
Allergies may appear at any age, and it’s possible that this happens to be the year, and you will think it is a COVID-19 infection. As stated above, they are not easy to distinguish. Try to consult with your general practitioner, who knows you best and can prescribe most allergy medications.
Some drugs (antihistamines) can also be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription. There is no harm trying them as the first means of relief.

Expert guarantee: MUDr. Helena Posová, CSc., Chief Physician at the Immunology and Allergology Clinic of the General University Hospital in Prague