ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Spring is in full bloom and so may be your allergies. But with every cough, sneeze, or tickle of the throat, many may wonder do I have COVID? Ivanhoe has what you need to know when it comes to spring allergies and COVID-19.
Pollen, grass, dust, pets or COVID? Which one is causing your itchy, watery eyes and runny nose? If you have these symptoms most likely it’s not caused by COVID.
“Environmental allergies typically you would have itchy, runny eyes; itchy, runny nose; sneezing attacks,” said Suresh Raja, MD, an allergies and sinus doctor at Aspire Allergy & Sinus.
COVID-19 rarely causes a runny nose or sneezes and doesn’t cause itchiness. But COVID can cause you to have a fever, chills, muscle aches and pains, while allergies do not. Also …
“GI symptoms is not something we normally see with environmental allergies,” continued Dr. Raja.
So, if you’re experiencing nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, check to see if you have other symptoms related to COVID. Dr. Raja notes that having allergies does put people at a greater risk for serious COVID.
“It’s all about inflammation. So, the more inflamed you are, the more likely you would be to have more serious effects if you were to contract the COVID-19 virus,” shared Dr. Raja.
So, stay away from allergy triggers and if that doesn’t work, consult an allergist for medication right away.
It is also possible to have allergies and COVID at the same time. So, contact your doctor if you have your regular allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes and runny nose, along with fever and chills.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
SPRING ALLERGIES OR COVID? SPOTTING THE DIFFERENCE
BACKGROUND: According to the CDC, it is estimated that over 50 million people in the United States have allergies. An allergy is defined as an abnormal response from the immune system to an external exposure to an allergen. The exposure can occur when the allergen is inhaled, swallowed, injected or comes in contact with the eyes, airways or skin. The immune response is not because of the harmful nature of the allergen, it’s rather a misdirected recognition of the substance as harmful. In the case of allergies, the allergens are picked up by certain cells, called antigen-presenting cells, which process them and allow them to be recognized by and alert the immune system to their presence. The strange thing about allergies is that the first exposure does not cause any reaction. What happens is that the person becomes sensitized and the immune system takes note of the foreign molecule or allergen and begins to mount its hostile response, all ready for the next encounter.
ALLERGIES OR COVID: For the millions of allergy-sufferers around the country, the question of is it allergies or COVID, or even a cold or the flu, becomes a little complex. Allergy symptoms range from mild to severe and can occur seasonally or be present year long. In people with asthma, allergies can cause a cough, wheeze, and shortness of breath. Allergies are not contagious. The coronavirus is a viral illness spread through droplets by coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. Symptoms typically start between 2-14 days after exposure and typically resolve within 14 days after onset. Coronavirus is contagious. The key points in determining which you have is timeline and history. People with allergies have a history of seasonal allergies, and symptoms tend to be more long-lasting than viral symptoms. Allergies typically make people itchy which is not a symptom of a viral illness. And people with allergies do not develop a fever, whereas people with COVID do.
BREAKTHOUGH TREATMENT FOR PEANUT ALLERGIES: The Allergy Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) was one of the research sites for the breakthrough drug, Palforzia, a first-of-its-kind treatment for peanut allergies. Palforzia is a type of oral immunotherapy that works by desensitizing children to peanut protein. Patients eat a controlled amount of peanut protein in the medication every day and slowly build up tolerance. Many children saw a reduction in the severity of their allergic reactions over time, allowing them to live life with more confidence and without the risk of a deadly reaction. “This therapy is the first FDA-approved therapy for desensitizing children and teens with peanut allergies,” said Jonathan Spergel, MD, PhD, Section Chief of CHOP’s Food Allergy Center. “While it’s not a cure, it will allow patients to live their lives with less fear of having a serious or fatal reaction to accidentally ingesting peanut protein.”
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