Sore throat can be a symptom of allergies or COVID-19, and it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Although symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies may overlap, key differences include the following:
- COVID-19 often causes a system-wide response, while allergies cause a localized response. For example, COVID-19 symptoms range from sore throat and fever to respiratory problems. However, allergy symptoms may be limited to the nose, throat, and eyes (although allergies can also cause generalized symptoms in some cases).
- Itchiness is a common symptom of allergies that is usually absent in the case of infections including COVID-19.
Understanding the difference between these two illnesses can help. However, it is best to contact your doctor to confirm a diagnosis.
What are symptoms of allergies vs. COVID-19?
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system reacts to an allergen by producing immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, which help remove the allergen from the system. In the process, the body releases chemicals such as histamine which is responsible for allergy symptoms.
The most common symptoms of allergies like hay fever include:
Less common symptoms of allergies include:
Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis change with the seasons and can therefore become worse at certain times of the year.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
Some people also report skin rashes, discoloration of toes and fingers, and red and irritated red eyes. Symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, fainting, and chest pain require immediate medical attention.
How are allergies and COVID-19 treated?
Proper diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. Depending on the cause, treatment may include:
- Allergies: Treatment for allergic reactions includes antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal steroid sprays.
- COVID-19: For people suffering from COVID-19 and who are in isolation at home, taking medications, getting ample rest, and eating a nutritious and immunity-boosting diet are usually recommended for a speedy recovery.
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World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Cleveland Clinic. Allergy Overview. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8610-allergy-overview