This Is How to Know If Your Stuffy Nose Could Be COVID

Is your nasal congestion a sign of the coronavirus or is it caused by your allergies?

Everyone gets the occasional stuffy or runny nose. And there are plenty of reasons that's the case—from a sinus infection to a deviated septum to a common cold. Even stress can cause congestion. But one of the most likely causes of the annoying nasal symptom is seasonal allergies. However, given that symptoms of COVID-19 also affect your nose and sinuses, you don't want to brush it off or fail to take it seriously. Better safe than sorry, as they say. Read on to discover how you can determine whether your congestion is a COVID symptom—or at least something more serious than your allergies. And for more signs of sickness to look out for, know out If You Have These 2 COVID Symptoms, You Could End Up in the Hospital.

Your stuffy nose doesn't respond to allergy medication.

allergy medication mixing alcohol

As allergist Sara Narayan, MD, wrote in an article for Emerson Hospital in Massachusetts, one surefire sign that your nasal congestion might be caused by COVID is when you take allergy medication and it doesn't provide any relief. That's a pretty good indication that your stuffy nose is being caused by something other than allergies. And for help treating coronavirus if you do become infected, check out This Common Medication Could Save You From Deadly COVID Complications.

You don't have a history of seasonal allergies

pollen allergy

Never had seasonal allergies before? Then you most likely don't have them now either. Depending on how long your congestion persists and what other symptoms you have, you could have a cold, the flu, and, yes, even COVID, though Narayan says it's rare. And for more helpful information delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

You have a fever.

black man checking his temperature and making a phone call

If you have a fever in addition to your stuffy nose, then you definitely want to consider seeing a doctor. According to Narayan, allergies almost never cause you to have a fever. However, the symptom is very common in cases of the flu, as well as the novel coronavirus. Of course, both of those illnesses should be taken very seriously. And for tips on distinguishing one from the other, know that This One "Wacky" Symptom Means You Have COVID, Not the Flu.

You have body aches.

Woman rubbing aching back

The same goes for body aches, Narayan writes. You will almost never experience the symptom due to allergies, but very commonly will with COVID. And to learn more about where the virus is heading, check out 10 States on the Verge of COVID Surges.

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