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COVID-19 vs. Seasonal Allergies

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- If you're coughing and sneezing regularly, it may be hard to determine whether you have COVID-19, the flu or just seasonal allergies.

This time last year, doctors say even they weren't entirely sure which it was.

"We were all like what's going on, what is this thing," said Dr. Todd Hostetler, an allergist with ENT & Allergy Associates.

A year later, and with the vaccine circulating around the Badger State, things are looking up. But we're also quickly moving into allergy season.

"COVID is a respiratory infection, and so it causes similar symptoms," said Dr. Hostetler.

Symptoms like a runny nose, congestion and cough are synonymous with both COVID-19 and allergies.

But Dr. Hostetler said there are a few symptoms that could point to something more than seasonal sinus issues.

"Fevers would be a big red flag to say hey, this may be more than just allergies," he said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, other symptoms like difficulty breathing won't be found in a case of allergies, unless you suffer from asthma or another respiratory condition.

Dr. Hostetler also says masks won't help alleviate allergy symptoms.

"The size of the allergens are so tiny that the masks aren't going to do a whole lot to protect," he said.

Hostetler advises making sure you're keeping up with allergy medication, and if you show symptoms frequently, get tested.

"Whether it's getting tested for COVID or getting tested for allergies, sometimes that testing process is just where you have to go to figure it out," he said.

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