BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Many people in Massachusetts are reporting common symptoms of allergies this time of year, like sniffles, a runny nose, and coughing. Ragweed pollen peaks in late summer and fall, and is one of the more common allergens in the United States, and with COVID infections on the rise many are asking the same question: are these symptoms of COVID, or allergies?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a case study with this exact question at its center. The agency said a teacher in California attributed her COVID symptoms to allergies this past May, and unknowingly infected dozens of students and parents.
Luckily, according to Brigham and Women's Hospital Allergist Dr. Tanya Laidlaw, there are some symptoms that make symptoms more likely to be one or another.
"Itching, specifically would suggest that it's much more likely to be allergies," she said, as allergies tend to cause itchy eyes and an itchy nose, and COVID usually does not.
On the other side, COVID is much more likely to cause fever and muscle aches, which Laidlaw said would be "quite rare" as an allergy symptom. Another symptom of COVID — the iconic loss of taste or smell — would also be very rare as an allergy symptom.
WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) has more: