COVID-19 symptoms may be comparable to allergy or sinus infections. An otolaryngologist breaks down the signs and guides when to consult a doctor.
The COVID-19 epidemic has added complexity to allergy season. It might be difficult to distinguish the symptoms of COVID-19 from those of allergies or sinusitis. You may learn more about these three disorders with the advice of our specialists.
There is considerable overlap between sinus and seasonal allergies and COVID-19 symptoms, so it’s essential to understand the distinctions between the two. In this way, you & your doctor will be able to coordinate your care effectively.
1. Allergic reactions
Those who suffer from seasonal allergies will likely discover a correlation between the onset of their symptoms and the changing seasons. Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, watery eyes, a dry cough, and congestion in the nose are all typical reactions to allergens.
Your sense of smell and taste may be impaired if you have nasal congestion. after you treat the congestion with intranasal steroid sprays, antihistamine pills, or a saline nasal wash. If the problem persists after trying this, you should see a doctor.
It would help if you also watch for any unusual symptoms that crop up throughout your usual allergy season. Anything besides allergies could be to blame here.
2. Weaknesses in the sinuses
Sinusitis symptoms are similar to allergies and the common cold, making them easy to overlook. A runny nose or cold-like symptoms that continue longer than seven to ten days; discolored nasal drainage ; a foul odor in the nose; or a cough are all possible signs.
When fluid builds up and blocks off your sinuses, you may experience the unpleasant symptoms of sinus infection, often known as sinusitis. Sinusitis affects over 30% of the US population. Pressure in the face, discomfort in the cheeks or forehead, colorful nasal drainage, and congestion are the hallmarks of a sinus infection.
OTC saline washes, oral decongestants, and short-term use of intranasal steroid sprays are all effective treatments for sinus infections. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if this does not help.
3. Signs of covid-19
SARS-CoV-2 is a new coronavirus that causes a disease known as COVID-19. Infected people can range from exhibiting no symptoms to having a life-threatening illness requiring hospitalization. Fever, chills, a new cough, headache, difficulty breathing, congestion, a runny nose that isn’t caused by allergies, a loss of taste or smell, or gastrointestinal disorders like nausea and diarrhea are all symptoms commonly associated with COVID-19. COVID-19 is not typically associated with sneezing.
Start an E-visit or call your doctor if you’re worried about possible COVID-19 exposure, symptoms, or testing.
4. Allergies vs. Sinus problems vs. Covid-19
Symptoms of COVID-19 and those of sinusitis and allergies sometimes coincide. A runny nose is one possible sign of COVID-19 infection. Nonetheless, COVID-19 presents several peculiar signs and symptoms. Allergies and sinus infections are not typically associated with gastrointestinal problems, fever, body aches, or sudden loss of taste or smell.
COVID-19 symptoms are comparable to those of the flu and other respiratory infections. Here are how the symptoms of COVID-19 differ from the flu.
5. Keeping covid-19 at bay
By getting vaccinated against COVID-19, you can prevent severe illness and help stop its spread. Find out when and where you can get vaccinated against COVID-19.
To avoid getting infected and help stop the spread of COVID-19, you should take the precautions recommended by the (CDC). The CDC modifies its recommendations for disguising, social isolation, and other measures as the pandemic develops.
It is also advised to keep washing your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth.
6. Reducing the impact of allergies
Although avoiding allergy symptoms is impossible, some measures can be taken to lessen their impact. If you have allergies, it’s essential to identify what sets them off and stay away. That could mean having someone else mow the grass, for example. If you can’t avoid what sets off your allergies, talk to your doctor about pre-exposure treatments.
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7. Locating an appropriate course of therapy
The ideal person to see, in person or online, if you have a history of persistent allergy or sinus issues hurting your quality of life is your primary care physician or an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Your typical allergy or sinusitis symptoms are familiar to you. Call your doctor immediately to consider testing for COVID-19 if you experience symptoms that aren’t usual or if your symptoms don’t improve with over-the-counter medicines like oral antihistamines, nasal steroid sprays, or nasal saline mist. Consider doing this if you suspect you have been exposed to the virus.
See your primary care physician if you have symptoms and are unsure if allergies, sinus problems, or COVID-19 cause them. COVID-19 testing and treatment options are available through the Froedtert & MCW health system.
8. Acute sinusitis
Inflammation and swelling of the sinus cavities are symptoms of acute sinusitis. Because of this, the mucus accumulates, and drainage is impeded.
Acute sinusitis can make taking deep, cleansing breaths through the nose challenging. Your face and eyes may swell, and you may experience throbbing pain there or in your brain.
The flu is the primary trigger for acute sinusitis. Most instances clear up in a week to ten days unless a bacterial infection sets in. Acute sinusitis may respond well to over-the-counter medications. The condition is considered chronic when a sinus infection persists for over 12 weeks despite medical care.
To lessen the likelihood of contracting acute sinusitis, try the following:
Stay away from colds and the flu. If you can, avoid being around people who are contagious due to a cold or other illness. Make sure you use soap and water frequently, especially before eating.
Deal with your allergies. Collaborate with your healthcare provider to manage your symptoms.
Stay away from smoky and filthy environments. Pollutants and tobacco smoke can cause irritation and inflammation in the respiratory system.
Install a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air in your house can help reduce the risk of sinusitis if you live in a dry climate or use forced air heating. Maintain a clean, mold-free humidifier by cleaning it regularly.