Is it allergies, a cold or COVID-19? Local health experts break down the symptoms of each

Sick Black Woman African American Girl Sneezing For Cold Allergy
Posted at 7:11 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 19:11:45-04

NORFOLK, Va. - The change in the weather comes with concerns about allergies and new trends affecting the season.

Allergies and COVID-19 could cause some confusion, so experts say to look out for serious symptoms.

It starts with a sneeze, then the clearing of the throat, then a tickle and a sniffle.

Is it allergies? Or COVID? Or just your standard cold?

“Saturday was very pollen-healthy, very windy, and by the afternoon I was feeling pretty beat up,” said Virginia Beach resident Krystine Lotito.

Lotito is not alone in the feeling.

“About three weeks ago, we started seeing the uptick in allergies,” said News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light with Greenbrier Family Medicine.

It’s that time of year - spring has sprung, and that means allergies.

"We had snow, then we had these periods where we suddenly had a very warm day,” said Dr. James Blando, a professor of environmental studies at Old Dominion University. “If we have snow, it's all this frozen moisture on the ground, but then it warms up and all of that melts and results in a lot of moisture on the ground. And because it's a little warmer, you get evaporation and you end up with moisture in the air. All of that moisture can really enhance the growth of molds."

Lotito’s symptoms were typical of allergies, experts say

“[I] started to get a tickle in my throat; a little bit of pressure around my eyes and then a really bad headache,” Lotito recalled. “The energy drain comes on pretty quick.”

So, how do you know if it’s allergies or COVID-19?

“When we look at COVID, a lot of the times you're gonna have generalized body aches and sometimes you're gonna feel under the weather. It's the fatigue that's the biggest difference between the two and fevers or chills," Dr. Light says.

Dr. Light said it’s the same for the flu and a cold.

Related: Get your tissues ready! Allergists predicting intense allergy season

The best remedy to keep the allergies at bay - nasal steroids, sprays and antihistamines you can buy over the counter, such as Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra.

And don't suffer without having all the information available to you. An allergy test could help you narrow down the cause and avoid the worst symptoms.

Click here for our full coronavirus coverage.