– Watery eyes, stuffy nose: Since the corona pandemic, allergy sufferers have quickly had to deal with the Argus eyes of others. But how do you know that it is indeed hay fever and not a corona infection? Here are the differences.
The hay fever season has already started in January: Due to the mild temperatures of the winter months, the first early bloomers are spreading – for example alder and hazel. However, it could also be a corona infection. Can it be distinguished from an allergy? An allergist provides answers.
According to Mainz allergist and dermatologist Stephan Scheicher, there are clear differences between an infection with the omicron variant and an allergy: The former is characterized by body aches and a runny nose – pollen, on the other hand, tends to cause sneezing fits.
Many virus variants – different symptoms
Unlike previous corona variants, according to the Robert Koch Institute, the symptoms of an omicron infection are milder, but they seem to spread much faster. Signs usually include a sore throat, runny nose, and cough. Other signs include a runny nose, headache and fatigue – some of which closely resemble an allergy.
However, the symptoms of an allergy set in very suddenly, reports the German Pharmacy Journal. Signs include itchy eyes, nose and throat – often accompanied by bouts of sneezing. “In the case of an allergic cold, those affected do not feel otherwise sick,” he continues. In addition, an allergy depends on the weather conditions: long-lasting rainfall removes a large part of the pollen from the air – then the symptoms of hay fever diminish. In addition, the symptoms occur at the same time each year. They are strongest in mild temperatures.
In the case of an illness with Covid-19, the symptoms appear less suddenly – and since they are independent of the weather, they remain constant. Infected people feel bad, allergic people are usually plagued by fatigue, explains the allergist. However, the symptoms can also be very similar: “If you have a mild course in both, then of course you can easily confuse it, so you have to test it,” says Scheicher.
Testing ensures safety
Corona self-tests and rapid tests can provide an initial assessment. There are also allergy tests that can be performed by general practitioners, dermatologists, internists or pediatricians.
And masks also help, because they not only prevent corona infection: by wearing a mask, pollen can no longer reach the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose. However, if the mask gets wet, it should be changed. Because then it has a lesser protective effect – both in the case of corona and with an allergy.
No higher risk for allergy sufferers
According to the RKI, people with hay fever or asthma do not have an increased risk of contracting Covid-19. This also applies to the course of the disease – those affected are not particularly at risk of developing a severe course.