Having a runny nose, cough, or itchy eyes could make you anxious about whether you have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, especially with everyone on high alert. However, these symptoms could have been triggered by a simple allergic reaction. It is therefore important to know the difference between COVID-19 and allergies.
Allergies are reactions by the immune system in response to substances in the environment that are usually harmless to other people. The substance, or allergen, that triggers an allergic reaction differs from person to person.
Common allergens that could trigger an allergic reaction include:
Animal dander (dried skin flakes from cats, dogs, or even birds)
Certain foods like peanuts, shellfish, and soybeans
Insect stings from bees, hornets, and fire ants
Aside from a cough, the symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are vastly different. The biggest difference is that you will not develop a fever from an allergic reaction. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, especially if you have a fever, see a doctor immediately. Severe allergic reactions can also cause shortness of breath or chest tightness. The bottom line is, if you are in doubt, always consult your doctor.
Antihistamines can provide effective relief for allergy symptoms. They come in liquid form or in tablets and are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Make sure to follow the dosage instructions that come with the medicine and do not take more than what is recommended unless advised by your doctor.
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common form of allergy. It is characterised by nasal symptoms, such as sudden and repeated sneezing, an itchy or blocked nose, and runny nose with clear discharge. Antihistamines and steroid or decongestant nasal sprays will help provide relief. Nasal washes are also a drug-free option to clear blocked nasal passages and remove allergens.
Have peace of mind with a COVID-19 rapid test. Speedoc has collaborated with the Ministry of Health to offer home sample collection and testing. Results will be available within 24 to 48 hours.