With the spring allergy season starting to affect some of my patients, I am getting questions on how to tell whether they have an allergy or the Corona virus.
Here are four ways to tell:
1. An allergy will not cause swollen lymph glands.
A virus will cause swollen glands. However you won’t know whether it is a common cold or the Covid-19 corona virus. The self-care for either of them is to rest in bed, stay away from other people, drink lots of warm liquids. However if you suddenly have chest tightness or difficulty breathing, seek medical care right away.
If you don’t know how to check your lymph glands:
Feel the front of your throat just to each side of your windpipe. This is where some of your lymph nodes (also called lymph glands) are. If you feel swollen a area that feel like a rubbery marble, that is a swollen lymph node. You can have more than one swollen at a time. The lymph nodes may or may not be tender. Lymph nodes kill germs. If they are busy killing a lot of germs, they swell up.
2. Allergies will not cause a sore throat.
A sore throat is one of the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus.
3. Allergies will not cause a fever.
A fever is one of the symptoms of the Covid-19 virus. There is conflicting information on the medical sites about the wisdom of taking any aspirin or ibuprofen to bring down a fever if you have the Covid-19 infection. My suggestion would be that if the fever is not too high (under 103 degrees F), then letting the fever run can help your immune system. For every degree a fever goes up, your body is marshaling more killer T cells to fight the disease. To bring down a fever without medications, you can use an ice pack on your head.
However if the fever is getting too high or is too uncomfortable, so far the medical sites are favoring using Tylenol (acetaminophen) to ease the fever.
4. Allergies won’t cause tightness in your chest. The trouble breathing from an allergy comes from a lot of mucus.
The Covid-19 virus causes chest tightness and difficulty breathing due to infection in your lungs. Chest tightness such as you can’t take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds.
Remember, If you normally get allergy symptoms this time of year take extra Omega 3 fatty acid fish oils. The fish oils lessen your body’s response to allergens so you are less likely to scare people if you have to go to the grocery store.
If you have not been totally inundated with the Covid-19 info and have more questions. Here is a bunch of information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
How does COVID-19 spread?
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.
The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales if one breathes in these droplets.
Another way is when these droplets land on objects and surfaces and one touches these surfaces, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they can catch COVID-19. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spreading and will continue to share updates. Shaking hands may transmit the virus and should be avoided.
How long is the incubation period for COVID-19?
The ‘incubation period’ means the time between catching the virus and beginning to have symptoms of the disease. Most estimates of the incubation period for COVID-19 range from 1-14 days, most commonly around 5 days. These estimates will be updated by WHO as more data become available.
Spread of COVID-19
As of March 25, 2020 there have been 416,686 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 197 countries, areas or territories. There have been over 18,500 deaths in the world.
As of March 25, 2020 the number of cases by country were: China (81,869), Italy (69,176), USA (51,914) and Spain (39,673) which accounts for 58% of all reported cases.
WHO is publishing current figures via its COVID-19 Situation Dashboard. There has been a rapid escalation in national and regional ‘lockdown’ measures, with enforced restrictions on social distancing, closure of schools, colleges and universities and widespread cancellations of social and sports gatherings.
Despite these measures, WHO is concerned that there has not been enough testing, contact tracing and isolation, which are the key elements of the response.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.
However, around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems (particularly high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are more likely to develop serious illness.
About 2% of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Should I wear a mask to protect myself?
Here is even more information from the World Federation of Chiropractic including information on the proper way to use a mask.
People with no respiratory symptoms, such as cough, do not need to wear a medical mask. WHO recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever.
The use of masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone (at home or in a health care facility).
WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and misuse of masks. Use a mask only if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing), have suspected COVID-19 infection with mild symptoms, or are caring for someone with suspected COVID-19 infection.
Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
Learn more about how to use a mask here.