Pollen allergies and Covid-19: itching, sore throat… how to differentiate the symptoms?

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Helping spring, pollen allergies are more and more frequent. Difficult to distinguish them from contamination with Covid-19. La Dépêche du Midi gives you some ways to make a difference.

It’s an annual burden! The arrival of fine weather in France is accompanied by particularly high pollen peaks. The north of the country is on red alert because of the birch, the southern half on yellow alert because of the plane tree. French people sensitive to this scourge are invited to take out their handkerchiefs… But in this pandemic context, it is not easy to differentiate the symptoms of Covid-19 from those of a pollen allergy. The Midi Dispatch make the point.

Allergies, Covid-19: why is it difficult to differentiate them?

As the pandemic progresses, symptoms linked to a Covid-19 infection have changed according to the variants. If before the virus attacked more respiratory system people it infected, today it affects many more the ENT sphere : “This includes the face, the ear (internal and external), the nose, the sinuses, the mouth and the tongue, the throat (larynx, trachea, etc.), the salivary glands, the thyroid gland and the neck” , lists the general practitioner from Fronton, Jérôme Marty.

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The fault of sub-variant BA.2little brother of Omicron, which today represents more than 92% of the cases of contamination in the country: “The Omicron variant and its BA.2 sub-variant will go “nest” in the upper airways whereas before, the virus was going to affect the bronchi”, explains the doctor. The ENT sphere is also the area of ​​the human body which is most affected by a possible allergy to pollens. Confusion is therefore frequent.

How to differentiate them?

First by focusing on the symptoms! Covid-19 sidethey are known: “What comes up most frequently are the sore throat, the headache and an common fatigue“, remarks Jérôme Marty. These are frequently accompanied by a dry cough, “laryngeal more than bronchial” with difficulty in swallowing. Fever, chills, body aches, loss of taste or smell and difficulty breathing are also specifically associated with Covid-19.

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Allergy sidethe symptoms of rhinitis are the most described: these are fits of sneezing, a runny or clogged nose regularly, and possible itching at the level of the nostrils. The patient may also complain of itching in the throat, reddened or watery eyes, and potential respiratory discomfort. This is a symptom shared with Covid-19, even if it is less frequently cited today in the case of contamination with SARS-CoV-2.

A doubt ? Take a PCR test

If in doubt, it is important to carry out a PCR screening test to find out if you are infected with the virus. If it is negative but your allergies are handicapping you, go to your doctor so that he can adapt your treatments against allergies and asthma, if necessary.

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In the event of a positive PCR test, “you can continue to take your usual treatments (inhalers, tablets). There is no risk associated with antiallergic treatments, including corticosteroids which are prescribed at low doses in the context of allergies” . Finally, be aware that in asthmatics, “a Covid-19 infection […] will be all the less serious as the asthma is stabilized”, indicates the Asthma and Allergies association on its website.

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