Is it allergies or COVID-19? Here’s how to tell the difference

ATLANTA — A lot of people are wondering if they have allergies or if they are suffering from COVID-19.

Channel 2′s Wendy Corona talked to a local allergist, who is helping clear up the confusion. Dr. Stanley Fineman with Atlanta Allergy and Asthma said that with the fall allergy season upon us in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases, he can see why people are concerned.

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“It’s very difficult to differentiate between viruses and allergies in some patients,” Fineman said. “We do have patients calling us now because they are concerned about whether their symptoms may be from an allergy or from a virus such as COVID.”

Fineman said that your history should give you the best clue. Right now, it’s ragweed that is causing the most problems for people.

“Nasal symptoms can occur in both,” Fineman said. “Typically sneezing is more from allergies. You rarely get sneezing in a viral infection.”

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You can get throat irritation in both, but not as much for allergies. That’s more often a viral infection.

“Runny nose and congestion you could get for both, but usually it’s more clear and runny for the allergies,” Fineman said.

If you’re not sure what is going on and want to be certain, Fineman suggests taking a skin allergy test.

“That’s a very accurate and sensitive way of determining what is causing the patient’s allergies,” Fineman said.

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The results come back in about 20 minutes anc can bring you peace of mind and help you set a strategy to beat allergies when the season strikes.

Fineman also said it is extremely rare for a person to have an allergy that would prevent them from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.