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Those who suffer from allergies know the drill, just when the weather starts to break, sniffling and sneezing set in. Most write-off the annoying signs of seasonal allergies. But this year, not so fast. Surging Covid cases can complicate the diagnosis.

Dr. Anand Thakkar is an internal medicine physician and medical director of American Family Care, an urgent care clinic in Morton Grove.

“Our temperature is going up and down and pollen counts, if you look at that, it is going really, really high,” Thakkar said. 

But this year, many have been surprised. What they thought were standard allergies turned out to be Covid.

“There is definitely confusion between Covid-19 because we are just coming out of the pandemic and some of the symptoms are common for seasonal allergies and Covid,” Thakkar said.

Headache, fatigue, sneezing, runny nose, congestion and a sore throat can all come with allergies and Covid.

Another cross over symptom? Loss of smell.

“With Covid you can have loss of taste,” Thakkar said. “With seasonal allergies, it’s very rare to lose taste. We can lose smell but not taste.”

There is one symptom that can help doctors and patients differentiate the diagnosis.

“With Covid you can get the fever, with the seasonal allergies you can never get the fever,” Thakkar said.

Thakkar said over-the-counter allergy medications can help, but if symptoms don’t ease up, get tested.

“If you think that you might have Covid, I would advise them to go for the test but they don’t need to scare until they get the results they don’t need to panic about it,” Thakkar said.

One myth Thakkar wants to dispel is that the Covid booster shot will not make your seasonal allergies worse. And another perk of wearing a mask during peak allergy season is breathing in less allergens.