Allergies or COVID-19: How to Tell the Difference?

There’s nothing unusual about suffering from seasonal allergies this time of year. That is, there never used to be – until COVID-19 came along.

Now, what’s making this allergy season out-of-the-ordinary is that some allergy symptoms overlap with symptoms of COVID-19.

The Public Health Agency of Canada lists cough, fever and difficulty breathing among the most common symptoms of the coronavirus. Symptoms can also include sore throat, tiredness, headache, chills, aches and pains, and decreased sense of smell, among others.

Meanwhile, people experiencing common seasonal allergies can have similar symptoms.

So, how can you tell the difference, and when should you consult a healthcare professional?

“Because allergies and COVID-19 can present in similar ways, it’s a good idea to have the facts and be extra cautious to make sure what you’re experiencing is nothing more than allergies,” said Greg Shepherd, CEO, Pharmasave Pacific.

According to Pharmasave, here are key differentiating factors between seasonal allergies and COVID-19:

Fever: A fever, and associated symptoms such as chills, are not usually typical of seasonal allergies, so may point to an infection.

Itchiness: If your eyes, nose or throat are feeling itchy, especially after you’ve been outside, chances are you’re experiencing seasonal allergies.

Nasal congestion: Common among seasonal allergy sufferers, nasal congestion is not a typical symptom of COVID-19, even among those who report decreased sense of smell.

Sneezing: Another common seasonal allergy symptom, sneezing is generally not associated with the coronavirus.

“Because every case is different, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional if you’re unsure about your diagnosis, and your pharmacist is a good place to start,” Shepherd said, adding that pharmacists can also offer advice and treatment to curb seasonal allergies.

Pharmasave has also launched a one-stop COVID-19 information portal at, where the public can find all the information they need about COVID-19, including links to COVID-19 self-assessment tools that can help you assess if you’re experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or potentially seasonal allergies.