Fall Allergies or COVID-19? A Breakdown of The Differences

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Fall allergy season is in full swing and with COVID-19 top of mind, it's important to be able to differentiate the symptoms.

"Definitely lasting longer. Definitely going to more of a full thing from the spring all the way through the fall instead of when I was younger -- I was just getting a little bit of it,” said Jenifer Charette, of Somers.

Warmer temperatures mean pollen-producing plants agitate allergy suffers longer into the season.

 “People are definitely feeling the symptoms and I think that they have for a little while,” says Pam Angelillo, an allergy nurse at UConn Health. “Ragweed season is pretty high right now and that will last pretty much until the end of September into October until we start to get some colder weather.”

Mold allergies also start to become more prevalent when wet leaves start to fall. As we head into the cooler months, the pandemic remains top of mind, and some of the symptoms of COVID-19 and seasonal allergies are similar, so it may be tough to tell the difference between them.

“I think it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people,” says Angelillo. “Allergies will not give you a fever.“

"It's confusing because I wake up sometimes and I'm like 'oh God is this it or is it just a sore throat? Oh I’m not sure' so it's kind of frightening," Charette said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the overlapping symptoms are a cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, sore throat, and congestion or runny nose.

The CDC encourages you to get a test to confirm your diagnosis if you think you may be exhibiting signs of COVID-19. 

"I know what I feel like when I have my allergies going on so if there's no fever, no persistent cough, no body aches, no upset stomach then I pretty much know it's just that," said Stephanie Patterson, of Southington.

To help alleviate allergy symptoms, Dr. Angelillo recommends over the counter medications, washing your linens frequently, taking a shower after any outdoor activity, and as nice as it may be to sleep with the windows open as it gets cooler at night, keep your windows shut.

Wearing your mask outside, and washing it frequently to get the pollen off, will also help keep allergies at bay.

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