Allergies and asthma; distinguishing symptoms from COVID-19

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sneezing and itchy, water eyes signal the arrival of autumn for many in East Tennessee.

Some children suffer allergies year-round, but this time of year… ragweed is the major offender. Children with allergies and asthma get a double whammy this time of year. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital Emergency Room director Dr. Ryan Redman explains some of the symptoms and how to distinguish between allergies and COVID-19:

Allergy signs and symptoms  

  • Red, teary, itchy eyes or swollen eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Throat clearing
  • Nose rubbing

How to distinguish between allergies, the common cold and COVID-19 

If your child has symptoms around the same time each year, if there is a family history of allergies, and if the symptoms are not accompanied by fever, it’s likely allergies and not a the common cold.

Additionally, sneezing and itchy eyes are not known symptoms of COVID-19.

Likewise, seasonal allergies do not usually cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. If one or both parents suffer from seasonal allergies, a child is more likely to have them as well.

Do allergies cause asthma?

No, but these two conditions are related. Children with allergies are more likely to have asthma than those who don’t. And children with asthma can have worse symptoms during seasons when flowers and trees are releasing pollen.

For kids suffering from allergies or asthma what tips do you suggest?

  • Avoid triggers when possible.
  • Wash clothes and give children a bath after they come in from playing outdoors.
  • See your pediatrician for recommendations on safe allergy or asthma medications that are the right dosage for your child and will provide them the most relief.

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVD-19 and seasonal allergies FAQs

American Academy of Pediatrics on allergies and asthma


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