Allergies or COVID-19: A Symptom Checker for Kids

Children are the future. They will determine in deciding how this world be after some years. A child is the most critical element of a family. The happiness of a family is always connected to a child. The parents and other family members are extra cautious when it comes to children in their families. Even a slight threat to their health can create panic in the family. The situation is more complex due to misconceptions about the child’s health. The rise of the pandemic has further aggravated the situation. One of the most pertaining questions in today’s time is how to understand the difference between allergies and Covid-19.

Many children encounter running nose and cough during changing weather. Earlier, parents don’t worry about these symptoms and let their kids mingle with friends and participate in school activities. But after the COVID-19 pandemic, even the slightest cold can create fear in parents’ mind with a suspicion that their children have COVID-19 infection or simple allergies like hay fever.

Most symptoms of seasonal allergies and COVID-19 infection are similar, making parents confused about the exact cause of their children’s suffering. The following are the signs and symptoms both allergies (hay fever) and coronavirus infection have:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Headache
  • Tiredness

What are seasonal allergies (hay fever)?

Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to environmental allergens, such as pollens, airborne mold spores, dust, or pollutants. When these allergens come in contact with our nose, eyes, or mouth, they cause an allergic response. The following are the common symptoms of hay fever:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Facial pain because of nasal sinus blockage
  • Itching in the throat, nose, and ears
  • Headache and tiredness
  • Sometimes loss of smell and taste, similar to COVID-19 infection.

Contrary to its name, hay fever may not produce fever in a person suffering from it.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 infection?

The following are the common signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection in children:

  • Cough and sore throat
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Fever and chills
  • Generalized muscle and body aches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of taste and smell sensation

Difference between allergies and COVID-19 infection

The following are some differences between these two conditions, which can help you get a clear image of the health problem your child is having:

  • The person with seasonal allergies doesn’t have fever or body aches

Fever is the most prominent symptom of coronavirus infection. In allergies, a child’s body temperature rarely goes up to 100 degrees, and they don’t have severe body and muscle ache, chills, or extreme fatigue, unlike COVID-19 infection.

  • Allergies don’t cause severe respiratory problems.

It is well-known that coronavirus infection causes respiratory issues. But, seasonal allergies don’t usually make breathing difficult unless children have asthma, which can get triggered by pollens. In COVID-19, children can experience shortness of breath, chest pain, and inflammation of the lungs.

  • Hay fever doesn’t have gastric issues.

Children with coronavirus infection experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms, that are usually absent in seasonal allergies. Sometimes, children can have a loss of taste and smell sensation in allergies, similar to COVID-19, but in hay fever, the loss of these sensations appears later.

  • Allergies respond well to antihistamines.

The symptoms of seasonal allergies like runny nose, nasal congestion, and stuffy sinus are usually well-respond to the antihistamines and nasal spray. The eye drops are effective in itchiness and watery eyes. Although antihistamines may show minor improvement in COVID-19, they don’t give such immediate benefits.

  • Allergies have trigger factors.

Seasonal allergies appear when a person comes in contact with the allergens, such as pollen, dust, molds, and pollution. Allergic attacks can be sporadic and occur during environmental changes. COVID-19 infection doesn’t have such trigger factors and may happen when someone comes in contact with the pathogen.

The CDC designed an interactive symptoms checker, which helps parents to figure out the cause of their child’s ailments. The self-assessing symptoms checker can help you make decisions about seeking medical attention.

If you have doubts about your child’s symptoms or your child has developed difficulty breathing, consult your healthcare professional for needful.

Narayana Health

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