Seasonal allergies or COVID-19? One symptom can help differentiate between the two – WFLA

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) With Spring in full bloom, so too are seasonal allergies.

From the sneezing, the itchy eyes, scratchy throat and coughing.

Experts say its a tough time of the year for many from December to May as people suffer from the familiar symptoms. But, with those symptoms so similar to something else, how do you know if its allergies, a cold, or COVID-19?

Like so many of us, Gina Myhet suffers from allergies.

This is the sunshine state, its pollen all year round, its summer all year round, you never get used to the allergies, its bad, Myhet told 8 On Your Side.

As it turns out, Myhet knows a thing or two about allergies, colds, and COVID. Shes studied all three, as a traveling nurse, now retired and living in Florida.

For Myhet, pollen has always been a problem and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she says symptoms can often be confusing for patients.

The side effects for COVID are the same for allergies, flu, cold. Theyre the same, she explained. You have to sit and figure it out.

Dr. John Greene is a longtime infectious diseases expert with Moffitt Cancer Center and has been in the field for well over four decades.

When it comes to allergies, colds and COVID, we wanted to know one thing.

So, how do you know which one it is, asked Dr. Greene. And, a lot of times you cant tell unless you test for it.

Dr. Greene says theres a lot to be learned from a recent European study. According to the study where 31 countries were researched, allergies can lower your ability to produce immune-boosting chemicals, making you much more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

Thats an intriguing association that many people are not aware of, so theres sort of a double whammy with pollen, Dr. Greene said.

As far as how to tell the difference between allergies, a cold and Coronavirus?

The key symptom, Dr. Greene says, is wheezing.

All three can easily cause a cough, but the shortness of breath and wheezing, he says, could indicate the possibility of COVID.

Dr. Greene advises anyone who experiences wheezing or shortness of breath to seek medical attention.

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Seasonal allergies or COVID-19? One symptom can help differentiate between the two - WFLA

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