Feeling Ill: COVID-19 or Just Allergies?

April 14, 2020, 6 a.m. ·


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A lot of Nebraskans are dealing with seasonal allergies right now. So it’s important to know the difference between those symptoms and indications of COVID-19.

Dr. Jill Poole (courtesy photo)

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Spring means tree pollen and seasonal allergies for 20 to 40 percent of Americans. Dr. Jill Poole, chief of the UNMC Division of Allergy and Immunology, and allergist at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, said that means symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, itchiness in the nose and throat, sneezing and drainage down the back of the throat.

"And that differs from the coronavirus, which (is) usually going to be marked by new symptoms of shortness of breath, a dry cough and a fever which you don't commonly see with the seasonal allergies," Poole said.

In an interview provided by UNMC, Poole said awareness of your own medical history is another way to tell the difference.

“Most people that had allergies last year will have them again this year," she said. "So if every year you start noticing these symptoms, expect that to be what it is this year again. But if you have new symptoms, that's when there's cause for concern.”