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Share top top PinterestFall allergies, COVID-19, and irritation indigenous wildfire smoke have the right to cause comparable symptoms. Primorac91 / Getty Images
Overlap of symptoms from allergies, COVID-19, and also wildfire smoke can make it complicated to understand which you’re experiencing.

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Treatment because that each is different.Exposure to wildfire smoke deserve to increase susceptibility to respiratory infections choose COVID-19.All data and also statistics are based upon publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit ours coronavirus hub and follow ours live updates page for the most recent details on the COVID-19 pandemic.

With much more than allergens circulating roughly this fall, it have the right to be an overwhelming to call what’s resulting in the symptom you might experience, like sore throat, runny nose, and headache.

Could this symptoms be signs of COVID-19, irritation from wildfire smoke, or simply loss allergies?

“If you take a step back and placed the whole photo into perspective, it deserve to be simpler to call the difference. Because that instance, exhilaration exposure deserve to be more temporary and include more burning 보다 itching, which frequently comes through allergies,” Dr. Tina Sindher, allergist in ~ Stanford wellness Care, said znjke.com.

However, Sindher adds that some human being with serious seasonal allergy can current symptoms comparable to those the a viral infection like COVID-19.

“They may have actually a gentle fever, and also that’s when it gets confusing,” she said.

To make feeling of that all, here’s a malfunction of the differences between each and also what you deserve to do around it.


While the symptom of spring and fall allergies have the right to be similar, such together persistent runny nose, sneezing, and also itchy or watery eyes, the triggers vary.

During feather months (February through August), tree and also grass pollination are key triggers. During the loss months (August v November), triggers encompass weeds and outdoor molds, with ragweed being the most common.

Dr. Kasey Strothman, pediatric allergist and immunologist in ~ Nationwide children Hospital, says throughout the loss months, various other environmental factors can worsen symptoms.

“For example, when warmer temperature are regularly welcomed, the lingering humidity, public conditions, and dry air can all boost the relax of mold spores. Outdoor tasks such as raking leaves can additionally be problematic because that those through pollen and mold allergy, as raking can stir up spores and also cause your release right into the air,” Strothman told znjke.com.

However, treatment for spring and fall allergies room similar, and also include preventing triggers as much as possible.

“Avoidance measures are multiple and include surveillance pollen or mold counts, staying clear of the outdoors throughout peak time of day, keeping windows and doors shut at home, and also showering or transforming clothes after being outdoors,” Strothman said.

Medications room similar, too, and consist of over-the-counter nasal steroids like Flonase and also Nasacort, and also eye drops choose ketotifen, states Dr. Ronald Saff, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Florida State university College that Medicine.

“The combination of a prescription nasal antihistamine coupled with an sleep steroid is really effective. Traditional allergy shots, which deserve to be obtained under the care of an allergist, are an extremely effective because that both fall and spring seasons, and also patient who endure perennial symptoms,” Saff said znjke.com.

One treatment, RAGWITEK, is details to ragweed allergies, the adds.

“It is a type of dental immunotherapy. It is choose an allergy shooting in the feeling that it increases the body immunity but is administered together a sublingual pill,” Saff said.


The Centers for condition Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks under symptoms that allergies versus COVID-19. It claims the complying with as gift symptoms distinctive to COVID-19:

fever and also chillsmuscle and body achesnew lose of taste or smellnausea or vomitingdiarrhea

However, the adhering to can be symptoms of both COVID-19 and also allergies:

coughfatigueheadachesore throatcongestion or runny noseshortness of breath or an obstacle breathing (for those through asthma)

Sindher states the best difference in between the 2 is that human being with famous infections have tendency to acquire run down regardless of even if it is they have actually a heat or not.

“You rely on Motrin or Tylenol to feel better. Girlfriend don’t see that in allergies,” she said.

When it’s difficult to tell the distinction from a famous infection and also seasonal allergies, Sindher looks at a person’s history with allergy to aid determine the reason of your symptoms.

“There must be a historical pattern of how and also when they existing with allergy symptoms. If it’s a child in the springtime, and also they to be at the park all day and also have part sneezing yet no other symptoms like tiredness or fever, i chalk it up to their seasonal allergies. With a viral infection you might not feeling well, may have actually a heat or vomiting or diarrhea, and we don’t check out those v seasonal allergies,” she said.

One method she argues determining whether you’re experiencing much more than allergies is to take an antihistamine.

“If they’re allergic, there will be some benefit, however if it’s a famous infection, you won’t watch any,” Sindher said.

When it comes to potential exposure come COVID-19, Saff says gaining tested is the only means to yes, really know.

“Since allergies have tendency to be chronic, most of mine patients that experience classic hay fever symptoms attribute your symptoms come a recurrence of your symptoms and become suspiciously of COVID-19 only if castle experience various other symptoms, like tiredness or fever, or if they feeling really sick. Usually speaking, hay fever symptoms deserve to make one feel miserable, but not sick. Again, however, over there is some overlap,” that said.


Wildfire smoke consists of gases and also particles from burning vegetation, building materials, and more.

The CDC alerts that exposure to air pollutants in wildfire acting can reason inflammation, transform immune function, and also increase susceptibility to respiratory infections, likely consisting of COVID-19.

Recent research also indicates the air pollutant exposure worsens COVID-19 symptoms and outcomes.

Some symptoms of wildfire smoke exposure and COVID-19 have the right to be the same, consisting of dry cough, ill throat, and an obstacle breathing.

For those with asthma, gift exposed come wildfire exhilaration can reason an asthma attack.

“If you have actually an underlying lung condition such as asthma, follow the arrangement laid the end by her doctor. Stay indoors and keep windows and also doors shut,” Strothman said.

Symptoms of smoke irritation include:

coughingtrouble breathing normallystinging eyesa scratchy throatrunny noseirritated sinuseswheezing and shortness of breathchest painheadachestirednessfast heartbeatasthma attack

“We will gain reports indigenous people, including myself, who could not be outside for really long and also just walking from the auto to the building, and an alert a headache,” Sindher said.

The best way to treat smoke irritation is to prevent exposure as lot as feasible by continuing to be inside. The CDC recommends finding cleaner-air shelters and cleaner-air spaces.

“The number us look at is the AQI index. deserve to go inside your lungs, and with the i of wait exchange, obtain inside your bloodstream and also can induce one immune an answer to your body. Climate it’s too late,” Sindher said.

While file “comfort” or “dust” masks trap big particles, such together sawdust, the CDC states they won’t defend your lung from smoke.

Same for towel masks being offered to sluggish the spread out of COVID-19. These won’t capture most tiny particles in smoke.

An N95 mask, correctly worn, may offer part protection, yet they’re in brief supply due to the pandemic. The CDC’s Respirator reality Sheet provides much more detail around respirator masks.

If you’re exposed come wildfire smoke, drink water and also running a humidifier may help relieve symptoms. Strothman states over-the-counter eye drops can aid with burning or irritation.

“Eliminate all other sources of acting exposure, consisting of candles, fireplaces, or wood-burning stoves,” she said.

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Cathy Cassata is a freelance writer that specializes in stories around health, mental health, and also human behavior. She has actually a knack for writing v emotion and also connecting v readers in one insightful and engaging way. Read much more of her job-related here.