COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? Delta making it harder to tell

Some allergy symptoms could get confused with COVID-19 symptoms. (FOX 9)

It's peak ragweed season in Minnesota, and allergy sufferers are finding themselves with symptoms that can sometimes present similarly to COVID-19.

Doctors say while both COVID-19 and allergies can include congestion, runny nose, and scratchy throat, only the virus will include fever, body aches, intestinal symptoms and nausea.

"Allergies will not cause fever, and headache and tiredness and body ache," said Dr. Pramod Kelkar with Allina Health.

Part of the confusion can be attributed to early research that suggests symptoms of the delta variant are slightly different from the first wave of virus.

"People are having more upper repertory symptoms with the delta variant and that could be easily confused with a mild cold or allergy symptoms," said Hennepin Healthcare allergist John Sweet.

Sweet points out, however, that allergies should respond to over-the-counter medications, which COVID-19 will not.

"Often they are complaining of nuance symptoms, like fatigue unlike they’ve experienced before and persistent cough that doesn’t improve with their inhaler," said Sweet.

Dr. Kelkar says another sign that you should be tested is if you haven’t had allergies in years past.

"If they are not improving with allergy medications in a couple of days. If there is zero improvement, they need to think about seeing their provider," he said.

Doctors remind patients that the COVID-19 test is free and easy, and should be taken anytime one is in doubt.