Understanding differences between coronavirus and allergies amid pandemic

There are a couple of symptoms to recognize before you call your doctor in a panic.
Updated: Apr. 4, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - More cases of the coronavirus are being tallied up as more tests are administered and results are returned.

However, local health officials say we can’t forget that allergies are also at their peak right now too. The symptoms of both the virus and seasonal allergies can be misleading.

It comes down to knowing your body but also your surroundings. There are a couple of symptoms to recognize before you call your doctor in a panic.

"Every time someone coughs or sneezes, you think you have Covid,” Doctor Christian Davis Furman, Professor of Geratric Medicine at UofL said.

In this day of worry amid a pandemic, don’t be quick to jump to a self-diagnosis. Instead, Dr. Davis Furman reminds us, we are in the midst of allergy season.

“You know your own body,” said Dr. Davis Furman. “If you’re having the sneezy, runny nose, watery eyes, and you’re not having a fever, most likely it’s allergies.”

Dr. Davis Furman said sometimes allergies can also mean coughing, but if you have shortness of breath along with it, that’s a red flag. Especially as more people are home, doing some spring cleaning, spending time with pets, that has a big impact on your symptoms.

“All that environment stuff really makes a difference with allergies control your environment and take your medication and do not take Benadryl,” Dr. Davis Furman said.

She said don’t take Benadryl if you’re 65 or older. It could exacerbate a person’s symptoms.

“There are complications about allergies,” Dr. Davis Furman said. “It could be asthma and bronchitis, sometimes it turns into an ear infection or sinusitis.”

Dr. Davis Furman adds if you’re going to take any over-the-counter medication for allergies, make sure you take your doses daily and routinely to feel any change.

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