Newswise — MAYWOOD, IL—Spring allergies are in full force. So how do you know if your symptoms are due to allergies or the COVID-19 virus?

In a new video, “How allergy symptoms differ from COVID-19,” Loyola Medicine allergist Rachna Shah, MD, outlines the different symptoms for each, and why it's important to keep your spring allergy and asthma symptoms under control during this pandemic.

“This spring allergy season has been especially challenging because of the pandemic of COVID-19,” says Dr. Shah, “and a lot of my patients, and a lot of allergy suffers, can have a hard time distinguishing between what is an allergy and what are symptoms of COVID-19.”

 The symptoms of seasonal allergies are typically itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose and post-nasal drip. The symptoms of the COVID-19 virus include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, diarrhea and sometimes, a sore throat.

 “The big differentiating factor between allergies and COVID-19 are those itchy symptoms,” says Dr. Shah, “itchy eyes, itchy nose and sneezing. If you are experiencing these, they are most likely due to environmental allergies and not COVID-19.”

 Many people with allergies also suffer from asthma, a chronic inflammation of the lungs.

 “Asthma can also make you more susceptible to having more severe symptoms of COVID-19,” says Dr. Shah. “So, it is really important to have an up-to-date action plan for both your allergies and for your asthma.”

 “Often, when people are feeling well, they will become more lax about following their treatment plans,” says Dr. Shah. Instead, patients should be “vigilant” in taking all medications as prescribed and having additional inhalers and refills.

To minimize allergy symptoms, Dr. Shah also recommends avoiding allergens. This can be done by keeping windows closed, and/or rinsing off or changing clothes after being outside. Many of the current restrictions for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including staying at home, can also help to minimize allergy and asthma symptoms this spring.

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About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in Chicago's western suburbs that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC)Gottlieb Memorial HospitalMacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from more than 1,800 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. & Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for more than 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its academic affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 180 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research facility at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-licensed-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, including acute rehabilitation, an inpatient skilled nursing facility and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919. For more information, visit

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 106 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities, and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $19.3 billion and assets of $27 billion, the organization returns $1.2 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity Health employs about 129,000 colleagues, including about 7,500 employed physicians and clinicians.