COVID-19 And Allergies

Chinese Coronavirus

Covid-19 took the world by storm when it was discovered last year in Wuhan, China. Its a disease caused by a novel virus from a strain of related viruses.

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From China, it spread like wildfire to other parts of Asia and eventually reached almost every country in the world.

It became a global pandemic in a very short time. The disease which has no cure yet has proven to be very fatal as it racked up a lot of deaths to its name and it’s already vying for a seat on the list of the world’s deadliest killers.

Covid-19 spreads through tiny droplets produced during talking, breathing, sneezing or coughing. The vulnerable pathways to this viral infection includes the nose, eyes and the mouth.

It can also spread via touch if you come in contact with surfaces that the droplets has fallen on. Indications of a covid-19 infection can occur in any period between 2 days to 2 weeks from exposure to the virus.

There are other coronaviruses existing and they are responsible for common cold and other mild illnesses but Covid-19 hasn’t existed before hence the unavailability of a cure but there are measures being discovered that can checkmate it’s spread and keep it minimal.

Covid-19 was officially given its name by World Health Organisation in February, 2020. Before then, it was referred to as “2019-nCoV”.

Measures being taken to mitigate the spread of the virus included;

  • wearing of protective gear such as nose masks and face shield
  • staying indoors if you have nothing important doing outside
  • observing social distancing by avoiding public gatherings, keeping a distance of about 6 feet from the next person
  • avoid touching public surfaces with your bare hands
  • frequently washing your hands with soap and water
  • using sanitizers to disinfect your hands
  • sneezing or coughing into your elbow
  • seeking medical attention or notifying the appropriate authorities if you are experiencing symptoms of the disease.

Speaking of symptoms, Covid-19 has similar symptoms with a lot of other diseases. You should go for a medical checkup if you are experiencing any of some of these symptoms; cough, fever, chills, muscle loss, headache, sensory loss (taste and smell), fatigue, sore throat, catarrh, rashes, short breath, nausea and others.

The Nexus And Contrast Between Covid-19 And Allergies

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There is a similarity between allergies and Covid-19 infection. Some conditions which could be the body’s reactions (runny nose, sore throat etc.) to certain allergies which could be mistaken for symptoms of Covid-19.

A good number of these mistaken symptoms could actually be the body’s reaction to pollen, fur or grass. To prevent this mistake, it is crucial that one knows how to tell the difference between allergies and Covid-19 symptoms.

The basic differences between allergies and Covid-19 are discussed as follows;

. It’s just the immune system’s hyper reaction to the exposure. But Covid-19 infection causes a broader response across the body systems not just the immune system.

Someone with Covid-19 may experience sore throat, breathing problems, a runny nose and fever. Someone with allergies will likely have similar or identical symptoms but won’t have a fever.

2) Allergies have a tendency to trigger itchiness in certain parts of the body such as the throat, nose and eyes. Covid-19 doesn’t have itchiness enlisted as any of its symptoms or indications.

3) Covid-19 and allergies triggered by Asthma share a similarity in respiratory issues such as chest tightness and sneezing. But allergies’ horde of respiratory issues is accompanied by wheezing which isn’t experienced by someone infected with Covid-19.

4) Sneezing is a nasal condition associated as a symptom of flu-like infections such as common cold. Covid-19 itself is flu-like but it doesn’t have sneezing as a symptom.

Some allergies can be seasonal and they can be managed without complications. Some measures that can be taken includes;

  • washing your clothes and hands as soon as you get home to rid yourself of allergens such as pollen or grass that stuck to your hands or clothes while being outside
  • wear hats and sunglasses to prevent allergens from entering your eyes

People with allergies are still vulnerable to falling ill. Meaning one with a certain allergy condition can still be infected with Covid-19. Its possible for the body to suffer from allergies and illnesses at the same time.

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In fact, the illnesses tend to linger longer in bodies already suffering from certain allergies. Save for certain symptoms, what you think might be Covid-19 could actually be seasonal flu or allergies.

A major reason all these share similar symptoms which could be hard to differentiate most times is that they are all virus-causing diseases. Different viruses but all viruses nonetheless.

Breathing problems is a major symptom that indicates Covid-19 but then it could also mean a phase just before the development of pneumonia from a flu or cold. This is why medical checkup and advice is recommended.

Sneezing is a symptom that allergies, common cold and influenza shares but it isn’t a symptom of Covid-19. There are differences but they are subtle.

Another difference between Covid-19 and allergies is that Covid-19 is an acute condition. You can feel healthy till symptoms starts manifesting while allergies have chronic indications or signs. You can show symptoms off and on for long periods of time, possibly even years.
Allergy symptoms also varies depending on the surroundings.

If the environment is rich with certain allergic triggers such as dust, pollen, grass or animal fur, exposure to such surroundings can be critical for someone with an allergy condition.

Due to the similarity between Covid-19 and common cold, treatment isn’t curative for now but it manages the symptoms well.

One can be treated for flu to prevent the occurrence of a flu after testing positive for Covid-19. This is for mild cases of Covid-19 which is usually within the first 2 weeks.

Unlike allergies which come and go and in most cases, are more of nuisances than fatal events, Covid-19 could be fatal because once it becomes serious, it can induce fatal illnesses such as pneumonia. Also, it is easily contracted plus humans have no immunity to the virus yet.

The above-mentioned reasons are why Covid-19 patients are immediately quarantined immediately after testing positive to the virus. This is done to spread the virus and keep it in check with treatments while it is still in the mild phase.

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Covid-19 has successfully progressed to the serious phase when one experience indications such as shortage of breath, persistent chest pain and tightness and bluish tint on the lips and the face which indicates a shortage of oxygen in the bloodstream.

This symptoms once shown requires urgent medical attention by the appropriate disease centre of that particular country. For Nigeria, it is the NCDC (Nigeria Center for Disease Control).

Covid-19 could even be more fatal in older people with pre-exisiting health challenges such as high blood pressure, heart complications and diabetes.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.