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Coronavirus or allergies? Here’s a local doctor’s advice if you’re not sure

PITTSBURGH — Seasonal allergies are kicking in, the symptoms of which could lead some people to wonder whether they’re the coronavirus instead.

Sore throat, headache, cough, trouble breathing … with those symptoms, it’s understandable how someone might not know at first what they’re suffering from.

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“Whenever you start to check off some of those boxes that are coronavirus symptoms, you start to get a little worried that it might not be just allergies, that it might be something more serious,” Tim Say, who has seasonal allergies, told Channel 11’s Jennifer Tomazic.

Dr. Richard Sullivan, medical director for AHN Jefferson Hospital’s Emergency Department, said it can be difficult to differentiate, but there are things to look out for.

“People with allergies generally will not run a fever greater than 100.4 degrees. If you're running a temperature of 100.4 or higher, that needs to be looked into,” Sullivan said.

A really sore throat is another indication it could be the coronavirus, according to Sullivan.

While most people with seasonal allergies experience itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose and sneezing, Sullivan said some people's allergy symptoms do include a cough and sore throat. To be safe, those people should get tested for COVID-19.

“You should get tested for your own safety and the safety of the people interacting with you,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan reminded that there are also still cases of the flu, strep throat and pneumonia.

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