Allergies or coronavirus? Doctors explain how to tell the difference

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It’s spring, and across much of Canada, that means the start of allergy season. But this year, allergy sufferers might be more anxious than usual, wondering whether their sniffles are just allergies, or the start of a novel coronavirus infection.

“It’s different from place to place, but here in Ontario, we’ve already started tree pollen season,” said Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist and professor of medicine at McMaster University.

People sensitive to tree pollen might be starting to experience symptoms already, she said.

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But luckily, it’s possible to distinguish between allergy symptoms and COVID-19.

3:46Healthy Living: Seasonal allergies with Kelly Kizlyk

Healthy Living: Seasonal allergies with Kelly Kizlyk

With allergies, “it’s running nose, sneezing, it’s itchy nose, it’s itchy watery eyes, stuffiness,” said Dr. Anne Ellis, professor and chair of the division of allergy at Queen’s University’s school of medicine.

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“For some people who get postnasal drip, there is an associated mild cough.”

COVID-19, as a viral infection, would have symptoms that you wouldn’t normally see with allergies,

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