Allergy symptoms vs COVID-19 —how to spot the difference

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, April 1, 2020

As the countries across the globe continue to tackle the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, it is important to know how to differentiate between allergies and the novel coronavirus.

Having a runny nose and temperature does not mean you have COVID-19, however, if you do have a dry cough accompanied by fatigue and fever there is a possibility you might have the disease.

Allergy symptoms tend to be more chronic and include sneezing, wheezing and coughing.  These symptoms vary and are triggered depending on the individual. People with COVID-19 may experience fever, tiredness, cough and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

In order not to cause yourself unnecessary panic, examine your environment before assuming you’re experiencing a symptom of the coronavirus.  Close attention should be paid to anything that might trigger an allergic reaction.

Below is a table showing the allergy symptoms alongside COVID-19 symptoms.

Sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose Fever
Itchy, red, watering eyes Fatigue
Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough Dry cough
Raised, itchy, red rash Difficulty breathing
Swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face  
Vomiting or diarrhea  

COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure while allergies occur seasonally and may range from mild to severe.

It is vital that you know the difference between the two and it is even more important to play your role in staying safe. Wash your hands with soap and water, sanitise regularly and practice social distancing.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call the Ministry of Public Health’s hotline on 231-1166, 226-7480 and NOT show up at any hospital or health facility.


COVID-19 Alert!

Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.