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Allergies, Flu or COVID-19? Understanding the differences

Meredith Dilley, MD, MPH with the Allergy Center at Arkansas Otolaryngology Center discusses the differences between allergies, COVID-19 and the flu.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — “I think it is something that is on everybody’s mind, says Dilley. “How do we know if it is allergies, COVID-19 or some other respiratory virus we normally encounter?”

“This is something that has hit our home,” says Ashley King. “My husband is an allergy sufferer and he had that issue: Was it allergies or COVID-19?” King’s husband went on to test positive for COVID-19.

Dilley advises people to break it down into symptoms that they know are caused by allergies and symptoms that are usually not.

Symptoms that are not usually associated with allergies are fever, extreme fatigue and cough.

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“I’ve told a lot of patients that if you know you historically have fall allergies and are someone who normally has allergy symptoms, then go ahead and take your regular allergy medications to try and get that under control as much as possible,” says Dilley. ”Then you might be able to discern a different symptom that arises beyond your typical allergies better.”

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This advice can help you decipher between typical allergy symptoms and other symptoms.
There is more overlap with COVID-19 and flu symptoms. A symptom that typically comes with the flu is myalgias and muscle ache.

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“We might see (muscle ache) in some patients with COVID-19, but it is much more stereotypical or common with the flu,” says Dilley.

 For more information, visit https://www.aaaai.org and https://www.facebook.com/Allergy-Center-at-Arkansas-Otolaryngology-Center-105541254550662.