Having a runny nose, cough, or itchy eyes could make you anxious about whether you have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, especially with everyone on high alert. However, these symptoms could have been triggered by a simple allergic reaction. It is therefore important to know the difference between COVID-19 and allergies.
Allergies are reactions by the immune system in response to substances in the environment that are usually harmless to other people. The substance, or allergen, that triggers an allergic reaction differs from person to person.
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What triggers an allergic reaction?
Common allergens that could trigger an allergic reaction include:
- Animal dander (dried skin flakes from cats, dogs, or even birds)
- Certain foods like peanuts, shellfish, and soybeans
- Dust mites
- Insect stings from bees, hornets, and fire ants
How can I tell if I’m just having allergies or if I’m down with COVID-19?
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Aside from a cough, the symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 are vastly different. The biggest difference is that you will not develop a fever from an allergic reaction. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, especially if you have a fever, see a doctor immediately. Severe allergic reactions can also cause shortness of breath or chest tightness. The bottom line is, if you are in doubt, always consult your doctor.
Treatments for allergies
Antihistamines can provide effective relief for allergy symptoms. They come in liquid form or in tablets and are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Make sure to follow the dosage instructions that come with the medicine and do not take more than what is recommended unless advised by your doctor.
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common form of allergy that affects up to 13.1% of people in Singapore. It is characterized by nasal symptoms, such as sudden and repeated sneezing, an itchy or blocked nose, and runny nose with clear discharge. Antihistamines and steroid or decongestant nasal sprays will help provide relief. Nasal washes are also a drug-free option to clear blocked nasal passages and remove allergens.
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Get help with your allergies virtually
Medicine delivery services are available if you need refills for antihistamines and nasal sprays but don’t want to leave the house. If you’re unsure of whether you are simply having an allergic reaction, you may want to schedule a teleconsultation or physical consultation in your home with a doctor to obtain a formal diagnosis.
If you are experiencing abnormal swelling in the facial region and/or shortness of breath, please call 995 and seek immediate medical attention as you could be undergoing a severe allergic reaction.
Learn more about Speedoc and how it can help you get professional healthcare whenever you need it, wherever you are. Visit their website at: https://speedoc.com/sg/
This article was first published in Speedoc and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
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