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Coronavirus, asthma and pollen allergy

Coronavirus, asthma and pollen allergy

The end of the lockdown also coincided with the beginning of the allergy season. Flowers, plants and pollen cause coughing, sneezing, runny nose and, in predisposed people, asthma. It is normal to ask whether asthma can be an aggravating factor for a possible COVID-19 infection and how to distinguish the symptoms of a common pollen allergy from those of coronavirus. Let's see what scientific articles and government reports say in this regard.

Asthma, allergies and coronavirus, what are the suspicious symptoms

Given that the only way to know if you have been infected with the coronavirus is to test it with nasal tampons, in any case it may be useful to have a guideline to distinguish the symptoms of allergy from those of the virus. In fact, those who have contracted coronavirus generally show a runny nose, cough, sneezing, possible loss of smell, headache, conjunctivitis and a sense of tiredness. All symptoms in common with hay fever. In addition, in more serious cases people with coronavirus can show difficulty breathing, which can also occur in those with allergic asthma. However, as reported by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control agency, fever should make the difference. In fact, fever is present in case of coronavirus infection but absent in case of seasonal allergy. In addition, myalgia is also a symptom of coronavirus while it is not a symptom of allergy. In the same way nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can be an indicator of the virus but are not symptoms directly related to seasonal allergy. In any case, it is clearly possible to have an allergy and have also muscle pain, fever or perhaps even abdominal pain attributable to other reasons and not to the coronavirus. In this case, it is good choice to stay at home and contact your doctor who will say you what to do. Finally, taking antihistamines relieves symptoms in case of seasonal allergy but has no effect on coronavirus symptoms.

Do people with allergies have to isolate themselves?

No, they don’t have to do this, there is no reason. When symptoms clearly related to seasonal allergy are present and there is no fever, people can go out according to the rules of their region without isolating themselves. However, they must observe all the rules of social distancing, wear the mask when required and wash their hands often with soap and water and / or use a sanitizing gel that contains at least 60% alcohol. However, if the fever occurs or the symptoms get worse despite the treatment with antihistamines it is good to contact the doctor immediately and follow his indications.

Are those with asthma or allergy more at risk of contracting coronavirus?

A study published in February in the journal Allergy (Zhang et al, 2020) reports that, out of 140 patients with COVID-19, none had allergy or asthma. Therefore, neither allergy nor asthma, when mild, are considered a risk factor or an aggravating factor when the infection occurs. Be careful though if asthma or allergy are considered serious, in this case they are included among the possible conditions that could worsen a possible illness course. In any case, the prescribed therapy must not be interrupted to keep asthma and allergy under control.
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