Allergies vs. COVID-19

With warmer weather around the corner, comes an increase in the pollen count and an increase of symptoms of seasonal allergies. This year allergy season will be emerging the same time at COVID-19, here’s some ways to know the difference.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — It may be difficult to differentiate between allergies or COVID-19. When it comes to allergies, Dr. Anderson says an important factor is a person’s individual history.

Dr. Halie Anderson, with the Rapid City Medical Center, says, “Thinking back in the years, is March and April a time when you usually start to get some sniffles or some sneezing? Because that is really important. If you are someone who has never had allergies your entire life and suddenly you are having a runny nose and you are coughing – having symptoms that are new to you- it’s probably not allergies.”


Allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, nose or mouth, sneezing, runny nose or stuffy nose, or postnasal drainage which could trigger a cough. The biggest component Dr. Anderson says is the itchy feeling and redness.

COVID-19 presents with a dry cough, shortness of breath, fever and fatigue.

A way to determine if it’s not COVID-19 for sure is the response to allergy medicine like an over the counter antihistamine – take a dose and monitor symptom response. If you get relief from symptoms, it’s likely allergies.

Seasonal Allergies

Seasonal Allergies

Another aspect to think about is asthma, Dr. Anderson says, “We know that allergies trigger poor control of asthma or asthma symptoms but so do viruses and so does COVID-19 and so I think for many people who have asthma, this is gonna be a time when they are really worried about that.”

Dr. Anderson emphasizes that if your asthma symptoms are not getting better with over the counter medications, and you still have shortness or breath- a cough and or a fever — call your primary care doctor for next steps of evaluation.

And if you are at all questioning your health- call your provider for further evaluation or schedule a telehealth visit.

Dr. Halie Anderson on a telehealth visit

Dr. Halie Anderson on a telehealth visit

Some insurance companies are waiving co pay fees for a telemedicine visit. Talk to your insurance provider for more information.

Categories: Coronavirus, Local News