The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding the public of the similarities and differences between the symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies amid allergy season.
The common symptoms people with the coronavirus and those experiencing allergies share are cough, headaches and tiredness, the CDC pointed out in an infographic.
Meanwhile, symptoms such as body aches, loss of taste or smell as well as fever or chills are usually linked to COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Shortness of breath, another common coronavirus symptom, is less likely to be caused by allergies, the agency noted.
COVID-19 is also less likely to cause sneezing and itchy or watery eyes, which are common allergies symptoms, the CDC said.
More symptoms commonly associated with allergies are sore throat and runny or stuffy nose, but people with COVID-19 can still experience them, according to the health agency.
Despite the differences, medical experts urged those who are unsure of what condition they have to err on the side of caution.
“It’s actually best to consider it COVID until proven otherwise,” board-certified allergist, pediatrician and immunologist Dr. Anjuli Mehrotra was quoted as saying by CBS News.
“If you’re having symptoms, I would not hesitate to take an at-home COVID-19 test, specifically a rapid antigen test could be really useful in this scenario,” the doctor added.
While those with seasonal allergies are not at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 or experiencing more severe symptoms due to the virus, Mehrotra warned that those with moderate to severe asthma could be at increased risk of hospitalization due to the coronavirus.
Allergies are caused by the immune system reacting to foreign substances, which are called allergens, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explained.
More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year, according to the organization.
Spring allergies begin in February and last until the early summer in many areas of the U.S., the American College of Allergy Asthma and Immunology said.
Overall, the country has reported a total of 80,341,159 COVID-19 cases and 984,744 virus-related deaths, according to data provided by the CDC.