Winter Allergies & COVID-19: Know the Difference

When warm weather hit this spring, people flocked outside to get socially distant – hikes, walks, camping, picnics. If a scratchy throat or cough arrived, many had to debate whether their symptoms were from outdoor allergens, or if they had come down with COVID-19.

As weather gets cooler and we’re forced back indoors, many may experience this same debate, but with indoor allergens as the cause of winter allergies. In this blog, learn the distinction between symptoms from indoor allergens and COVID-19, and find tips for keeping indoor allergen levels low.


The symptoms of COVID-19 are listed everywhere you look, from social media to the daily news, but these symptoms are what set COVID-19 apart from allergy for many:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting

While coughing may occur with allergy, it’s typically not a dry cough. If you suspect COVID-19 based on the symptoms above, follow your local guidelines and the CDC to determine testing or quarantines.

Indoor Allergies

With allergy, the onset of symptoms is sudden. Indicators that it’s allergy and not COVID-19 may be:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose and eyes
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Watery, red eyes

Believe it or not, indoor allergens can cause severe allergy symptoms in the same way that trees and grass can. The major indoor allergens are dander, dust mites, and mold – which increase in the winter months – and because we spend so much time indoors during this time, symptoms can be even stronger.

As we prepare to spend a majority of our time indoors this winter, follow these tips to keep indoor allergens low in your home.

Reduce Dander:

  • Keep your pet outside of the bedroom of the allergic individual, or limit spaces where the pet can roam freely
  • Wash the animal frequently to reduce the amount of dander on the pet
  • Vacuum carpet frequently and wash rugs and pet beds in hot water

Reduce Dust Mites:

  • Wash all of your bedding, from blankets to pillow cases, every two weeks in hot water
  • Keep household humidity between 30% and 50%
  • Vacuum carpets with HEPA filters

Reduce Mold:

  • Use a dehumidifier to keep your home dry
  • If you see a moldy area in your home, clean the area with detergent

Your winter holiday decorations can cause symptoms too. Take a Proactive Approach to Holiday Allergy Triggers explains what to look for and how to avoid unnecessary allergy reactions.

If you’re looking for a way to put an end to allergic reactions through an allergy immunotherapy that can be safely taken at home, allergy drops may be a great option for you. Learn more about allergy drops, then find a provider near you offering treatment.

Stay safe and healthy this winter!