PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The warm weather is bringing a flood of pollen and doctors say allergy symptoms can be similar to some symptoms of COVID-19. Allergies are known to cause some respiratory problems and so can the coronavirus.
While there is some overlap, doctors say the symptoms are distinct.
People were out around the Philadelphia Museum of Art enjoying a warm Friday. They’re also getting a big dose of tree pollen, which is high in the Philly region.
Doctors say some people are concerned their allergy symptoms might be COVID-19.
“I followed my treatment plan for allergies for two days and my cough got worse,” Nicole Levin said. “And I was starting to get fever. Then, I had extreme nausea, which I never get with allergies. It was like the most bizarre thing.”
Doctors say allergies and the coronavirus have some overlapping symptoms.
“Dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, nasal congestion, headache, you know you can see with both of them. But usually, what we tell our patients to reassure them is, usually with coronavirus you’ll have a fever,” Dr. Purvi Parikh said.
In addition to the primary symptom of a fever, coronavirus can also cause nausea, diarrhea and muscle aches, which are not linked to allergies.
“If your throat is itchy and your nose is itchy, then that’s a little bit reassuring that it might be more likely to be allergies rather than the coronavirus,” Parikh said.
Also, allergy symptoms usually come at the same time each year.
“You need to be smart about your treatment just like you always are,” Levin said. “If you have chronic allergies and asthma like I do and they’re a pain, you need to know how to control them and then to know whether you need to take further action.”
In addition to medications, doctors say people with allergies should avoid being outside in the afternoon when pollen counts are higher.
Also, people who have allergies don’t have an increased risk of developing COVID-19.