Is it allergies or COVID-19 symptoms? Tips from an allergist

Fall allergy season may be tricky this year with COVID-19 in the mix. 

Allergy symptoms often mimic those of the coronavirus but according to Cleveland Clinic allergist Dr. Sandra Hong, a couple of tell-tale signs can help you know the difference.

"With coronavirus symptoms very frequently they'll come on with fevers. If you have a fever, it's not going to be allergies. If you have diarrhea, that's also not allergies. That's something completely different," she said.

A cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of taste and smell are all coronavirus symptoms - but they're also common in people with allergies. 

Dr. Hong says another good way to decipher between the two is itching. 

If your eyes, nose, throat and ears are itching like crazy, it's likely allergies. And if you get the same symptoms at the same time every year, you probably have allergies. 

How long you suffer is also a clue.

"Typically with coronavirus the symptoms will last for a couple weeks, they can sometimes be lingering, but typically not like allergies where they can be months on end, a whole season."

If you have fall allergies each year you're probably all too familiar with what makes you feel miserable. However, if any new symptoms arise, Dr. Hong says don't discount your risk of COVID-19 and see a doctor, get tested or quarantine.