The coronavirus is back… yet again. And this time, it has another troubling trick up its sleeve. It might be masquerading as something else entirely. And those are common seasonal allergies.
That’s a problem because we don’t usually give allergy symptoms a second thought. After all, you’ve probably battled them yourself countless times before. And you know allergies aren’t serious or contagious.
So despite having a scratchy throat or a stuffed-up nose, you stick to your regular routines without even the slightest concern that something might be very wrong.
Well, that is until the rest of the COVID symptoms hit you like a cartoon piano falling from a building. It turns out you’ve got one of the newer strains of COVID-19… one of the Omicron variants.
And now you’re facing days of misery. And that’s IF you’re lucky.
Omicron can mimic common allergies
You remember what Omicron did right after Christmas, of course. It caused COVID cases to dramatically spike to levels we’d never seen before.
Then, just like that, the numbers crashed again, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed like we were home-free and could FINALLY relax.
But, unfortunately, the next form of Omicron had different plans. That’s when BA.2 stopped by with a spring surprise. And with so many folks choosing to test at home now, no one really knows what the actual case numbers have been.
But we DO know that COVID-19 is nowhere near done with us yet. In fact, the BA.4 and BA.5 variants are getting ready to join the party.
And it turns out all those Omicron variants are cruel mimics. They slip inside, set up camp, and make you think you’re dealing with simple allergies or a head cold… at least, at first.
Omicron symptoms are different from Delta
Omicron symptoms are slightly different than they were with the past variants.
Delta symptoms tended to be more chest based for the first few days. For example, you might have found yourself battling a cough and shortness of breath.
But Omicron has flipped the script on us. Because now, soon after being infected, people tend to report those allergy-like symptoms I mentioned earlier.
Lucky for us, there are still some differences between common allergy complaints and symptoms of Omicron. You just have to know what to look for.
When battling allergies, you might get the congestion and nasal symptoms that also show up with the Omicron variant. But other common Omicron complaints aren’t typical allergy symptoms, including…
- muscle aches
- loss of taste and smell
- stomach issues (including diarrhea)
These could all be signs you’re dealing with something more serious. Get yourself a rapid test as quickly as possible.
3 reasons why early diagnosis is important
Now, you might be thinking, COVID is COVID. It doesn’t matter if it feels like allergies at first, only what it becomes.
But that’s not exactly true. In fact, there are three excellent reasons you’re going to want to try to spot a potential coronavirus case as quickly as possible:
- So you can isolate yourself from friends and loved ones more quickly. Experts say COVID-19 is the most transmissible in the earliest phases of the infection. If you miss it because you think you’re dealing with allergies, you could accidentally end up making a lot of other folks sick.
- So you can quickly take some steps to help support your immune system. It’s vital to focus on getting better sleep and a healthy diet to ensure your body gets all the right vitamins and nutrients it needs to battle this ugly bug. (To discover the diet secret scientists say sends your immune system response soaring, check out my earlier report here.)
- If your doctor advises you to get the antiviral drug Paxlovid, it works best when you start as soon after the initial infection as possible. Knowing how to tell the difference between allergy and COVID symptoms can help ensure you begin the therapy in those critical first days if you decide Paxlovid is right for you.
If you don’t already have some COVID quick tests on hand, it’s a good idea to get some. Right now, they’re readily available. And, in many cases, they’re either free or covered by insurance. And they can help you quickly ID whether you’re battling allergies or a stealth case of Omicron.
If you suspect you have COVID-19 or you test positive, talk with your doctor for advice.