COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? What doctors want you to know

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Posted at 6:44 AM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 10:54:21-04

As the pandemic drags on into spring, some people are mistaking seasonal allergies for COVID-19, according to local doctors.

A group of doctors from the University of Cincinnati said COVID-19 is associated with systemic symptoms like fever, body aches and a flu-like feeling. About 50% of the time, a person with COVID-19 has a significant loss of one sense, most commonly smell.

With that being said, most people around this time of year may experience a runny nose, congestion and a loss of smell thanks to the burst of pollen and ragweed in the air. But doctors said if you experience all of these, it's most likely seasonal allergies. A loss of smell by itself, though, is a better indicator of COVID-19.

"There was actually a study done looking at patients presenting with decreased sense of smell," UC Director for Rhinology, Allergy and Anterior Skull Base Surgery Dr. Ahmad Sedaghat said. "Smell loss in the absence of other nasal symptoms, with the stuffiness, without the sniffles, is much more likely to be COVID-19 instead of allergies."

If you are concerned about potential COVID-19 symptoms, though, you are advised to talk to your doctor.