Q: How do I know if I have allergies or COVID-19?

A: Now that it’s spring in South Texas, seasonal allergies are back in full force for those who get stuffy noses and watery eyes because of pollen and other allergens.

But those symptoms can be confusing in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. How can you tell if you’re suffering from allergy season or an infectious respiratory disease? Dr. Sanjiv Sur, an allergist at Baylor College of Medicine, said allergies usually bring the same symptoms every year.

“If there is a significant change in your allergy symptoms from what you have had in the past, then you should consider being evaluated by a physician,” Sur said in a statement.

Allergies will typically cause itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion and sneezing, according to a news release from the Baylor College of Medicine. The main symptoms of COVID-19 are dry cough, fever and shortness of breath, although some patients will experience additional symptoms as well.

Sur said a major difference between allergies and COVID-19 is a fever, which is not a symptom in seasonal allergies.

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara. To support local journalism at the Advocate through Report for America, go to

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. She reports on insurance, the cost of health care, local hospitals, and more. Questions, tips, or ideas? Contact: or call 361-580-6597.

(1) comment

Glenn Wilson

Ciara, that's exactly the question I've been asking. Thanx for the informative answer.

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.