Rise Of Coronavirus Coincides With Arrival Of Allergy Season

Rachel Pierson
April 03, 2020 - 2:37 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Seasonal allergy symptoms can easily cause people to fear it’s the coronavirus instead.

Because of this month’s weather conditions, Dr. Rachna Shah, an allergist with Loyola Medicine, said people are likely experiencing seasonal allergies right now.

“The biggest distinguishing factor between allergies and COVID-19 is itchiness. So itchy eyes, itchy nose, runny nose.”

Some symptoms, however, can be very similar.

“One of the first symptoms, especially in younger people or people that have milder symptoms, is a change in sense of smell or a diminished sense of smell that they’ve seen in people who have had COVID-19 who have had milder symptoms. That is a hard one to distinguish between allergies and COVID-19," Shah said.

So when is it just a run-in with pollen, or something more serious?

“If someone with allergies is also having fevers, chills, fatigue, difficulty breathing, or cough they should speak with their healthcare provider to discuss if they need to be screened or not," Shah said.

Dr. Shah also recommends any allergy sufferer or asthmatic be diligent about taking their daily medication. 

“I want to make sure that all of my asthmatics, all of my allergy sufferers, the level of inflammation that allergies can generate, that we minimize that and we keep that as best controlled as possible so that if we do end up getting the virus, that our prognosis is better because we’ve kept our other conditions controlled," Shah said.