Consumer Reports

Allergies in the Time of COVID-19: How to Tell the Difference

Consumer Reports looks at the differences between allergies and COVID-19 symptoms

NBC Universal, Inc.

Sometimes it seems like every season is allergy season, whether you suffer because of tree pollen, ragweed, or indoor dust, chances are you’re coughing, sneezing, or sniffling. And with the coronavirus still a concern, you might wonder if it’s more than just an allergy.

Consumer Reports has some simple ways to tell the difference and some advice on overcoming annoying allergy symptoms.

With COVID-19 still around, any sign of illness, such as a lingering cough, is nothing to sneeze at. There is some overlap in COVID-19 and allergy symptoms. But one big difference is a fever and loss of taste or smell. Those can be signs of COVID-19, so quarantine and get tested right away.

But if your eyes, nose, and throat are itchy and you’re sneezing, it’s more likely allergies.    

No one wants to hear they’re allergic to a pet. As much as you may love yours, he or she shouldn’t sleep on your bed or even in your bedroom. Sorry! Pets shed dander and can carry pollen on their fur.

To destroy things like pet dander, dust mites, and pollen, wash your bedding in hot water that’s at least 120 degrees.

Your pets aren’t the only ones carrying outside irritants into the house. Move your shower time to bedtime to wash off pollen that’s collected on your hair and skin so you don’t go to sleep with allergens.

Lots of irritants collect on your floors, so vacuum them at least once a week to keep particles under control. Be careful of vacuums that can introduce dust back into the air.

Allergy sufferers should avoid a vacuum that collects debris in a bin because particles can float back into the air when it’s emptied. A better choice would be a bagged model with a HEPA filter.

A portable air purifier that can handle a large room can clean dust, smoke, and pollen from the air.

Your allergies might make you feel like staying inside, but mowing your lawn can help you feel better, because short grass is less likely to release pollen. In addition, wearing a mask and sunglasses will help protect you from irritants.

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