How to distinguish coronavirus symptoms from allergies

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How to distinguish coronavirus symptoms from allergies

The symptoms of the coronavirus could be confused with the symptoms of allergies, however, there are some characteristics that can serve to differentiate them.

With the onset of spring and the blooming season, many have aggravated allergies. During this period, it is extremely important to distinguish between the reaction to pollen and other irritants from an infectious disease, especially coronavirus.

There are symptoms that are very common between coronavirus infection and allergy, but also there are some very noticeable differences.

Differences between coronavirus and allergies

The question of how to distinguish an infection from an allergy worried people long before the spread of COVID-19. In fact, respiratory viral illnesses can be very similar to allergies. But there are still significant differences between them.

1. Temperature rise

A viral illness, especially of a moderate or severe course, is always accompanied by an increase in temperature, usually above 37.5 degrees. With an exacerbation of allergies, such as seasonal allergic rhinitis, this is extremely rare. Often such a complication arises precisely due to the fact that the allergy is aggravated by infection. [1]

2. intoxication

Intoxication is characteristic of COVID-19. With the coronavirus infection, people more often complain of malaise, weakness, pain in the muscles and joints, and general aches and pains throughout the body. With allergies, breathing becomes difficult, itchy eyes, redness appears, but general symptoms of intoxication are not observed.

In addition, coronavirus patients continually experience shortness of breath and decreased blood oxygen levels.

Intoxication is a condition in which consciousness, cognitive activity, perception, judgment, emotional state, behavior, or other psychophysiological functions and reactions are impaired. [2]

3. No itching

A mild course of coronavirus without fever or muscle pain can be mistaken for an allergic reaction. But the action of the allergen is usually associated with itchy nose or eyes. Such symptoms are unusual for the coronavirus.[3]

4. Sudden loss of smell

For those who struggle with allergies, the sense of smell disappears gradually and after a prolonged exacerbation. However, during coronavirus infection, the patient suddenly stops smelling and cannot perceive them even at close range, even without the presence of nasal congestion. [4]

Doctors pay special attention to the patient’s medical history. It is necessary to find out if he has had an allergy before, if his body is prone to allergic reactions, if the person has been in contact with COVID-19 patients, if he is observing safety measures.

Already on the basis of this information and the analysis of symptoms, the therapist draws initial conclusions, makes recommendations and directs them to a particular specialist.

The person does not self-diagnose and even more self-medicate. If symptoms appear, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis.


  1. Gil R, Bitar P, Deza C, Dreyse J, Florenzano M, Ibarra C, Jorquera J, Melo J, Olivi H, Parada MT, Rodriguez , JC, & Undurraga, Á. (2021). CLINICAL PICTURE OF COVID-19 [CLINICAL PRESENTATION OF COVID-19]. Clinical Medical Journal Las Condes, 32(1), 20–29.
  2. Zou L, Ruan F, Huang M, Liang L, Huang H, Hong Z, Yu J, Kang M, Song Y, Xia J, Guo, Q., Song, T., He, J., Yen, H.L., Peiris, M., & Wu, J. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients. The New England journal of medicine, 382(12), 1177–1179.

  3. Goyal P, Choi JJ, Pinheiro LC, Schenck EJ, Chen R, Jabri A, Satlin MJ, Campion TR Jr, Nahid M, Ringel JB, Hoffman KL, Alshak MN, Li HA, Wehmeyer GT, Rajan M, Reshetnyak E, Hupert N, Horn EM, Martinez FJ, Gulick RM, … Safford MM (2020). Clinical Characteristics of Covid-19 in New York City. The New England journal of medicine, 382(24), 2372–2374.

  4. Aziz, M., Goyal, H., Haghbin, H., Lee-Smith, WM, Gajendran, M., & Perisetti, A. (2021). The Association of «Loss of Smell» to COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The American journal of the medical sciences, 361(2), 216–225.

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