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5/4/21 blog post

is it allergies or COVID-19?

sneeze, kid, allergies

As the Miami Valley rides the wave of allergy season, it’s important to recognize the difference between allergies and a COVID-19 infection. While seasonal allergies and COVID-19 share some similar symptoms, there are some key differences between the two. To make this identification a little easier we sat down with David Morris, MD, division chief of allergy and immunology at Dayton Children’s Hospital to talk about some common questions around seasonal allergies.

what are symptoms of common seasonal allergies?

Typically seasonal allergies cause itchy and/or watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.  

what symptoms do seasonal allergies and COVID-19 have in common?

There are some symptoms of seasonal allergies that can also be tied to COVID-19. These symptoms include:

  • cough
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • sore throat 
  • congestion or runny nose.

what symptoms are associated with COVID-19 and NOT allergies?

Typically, seasonal allergies do not cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing unless a person has a respiratory condition like asthma, which can be triggered by pollen. 

how long can seasonal allergies last?

There is not a definitive answer to this question. Allergies can last as long as the allergen (pollen) is in the air. This can last for a few days or a few weeks. If your child’s allergies last longer than a few weeks he/she could be experiencing something called chronic sinusitis.

what symptoms are more specific to COVID-19?

Fever and shortness of breath (with no history of asthma) are more specific for COVID-19. It is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor if breathing difficulties become severe or fever is persistent.

what is chronic sinusitis?

Chronis sinusitis is a long-lasting sinus inflammation and infection that lasts for a long period of time (12 weeks or more). With chronic sinusitis the sinus cavities become infected due to being blocked and filled with fluid. This can be caused from allergies and other infections Symptoms of chronic sinusitis can include pressure in the face, mucus (snot) dripping down the back of the throat, toothache, ear pain, headache, cough, tiredness, and more.

If your child has “allergies” lasting longer than 10-12 weeks it’s important to follow up with your child’s pediatrician to make sure that their sinus cavities are not blocked.

David Morris 2023
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David Morris, MD

division chief allergy / immunology
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