Allergies During the Coronavirus Pandemic

“At least we are able to differentiate the two clinically so far," said Dr. Yan

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With new case numbers of the novel coronavirus being reported every day, it is easy to forget that there are other things that could be causing people to experience similar health symptoms.

Some people may be experiencing runny, stuffy noses, and itchy eyes.

That’s right-- it’s allergy season.

Dr. Carol Yan, a head and neck specialist at UC San Diego Health, wants people to know the difference between allergies and the novel coronavirus, and what to do if you are worried it could be the virus.

“Springtime is certainly a time where allergies are in season, especially related to tree pollen,” said Dr. Yan.

Dr. Yan explained that patients grow concerned when they start feeling common allergy-related symptoms like nasal congestion and itchy, dry eyes. However, she said, only a small amount of those who have been recorded with the coronavirus have symptoms similar to allergies.

What is important to note while experiencing those typical allergy symptoms, said Dr. Yan, is if they are consistent with what you usually have and if they change throughout the day.

While Dr. Yan wants to reassure her patients during a time of uncertainty, she said it is always better to be cautious.

“I do tell them if any of their symptoms are not in line with what their normal allergy symptoms are, that they experience every year, and if they’re developing any of the more common symptoms of COVID-19 such as fevers or coughs or shortness of breath, to please contact their medical providers,” said Dr. Yan.

She also wants to remind patients to continue to contact their physicians, regardless of if it is related to coronavirus or not.

“We’re still here for them even though we are not seeing them every day or every week in the clinic, face-to-face. We want them to reach out to us,” said Dr. Yan. 

For more information on the symptoms of coronavirus, click here.

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