DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added new symptoms for COVID-19.
Headaches, sore throat and loss of smell.
The new guidance was a little unnerving for some allergy sufferers in North Texas.
“You’re in the middle of it,” says Frank Riester while taking the dogs out for a walk in Dallas on Monday. “There’s hardly been a day in the last 3 or 4 months that I don’t have a headache, in allergy season, and come September, I’ll get another round of headaches and sore throat. That’s life in North Texas.”
According to the CDC, other symptoms include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, shortness or breath or difficulty breathing.
“Decreased send of smell, headache and sore throat, although yes, a lot of allergy sufferers do have those symptoms, the vast majority are going to be allergies vs the Covid-19.”” says Dr. Marie Fitzgerald, with Family Allergy & Asthma in Flower Mound.
Dr. Fitzgerald, who trained as an immunologist, says her office has seen an increase in calls from patients wanting both information and reassurance.
She says in spite of the very common symptoms, allergies also have some distinct differences, so every patient with a sore throat shouldn’t immediately suspect that the novel coronavirus is to blame.
“With allergies you have a lot more nasal symptoms,” says Dr. Fitzgerald. “Runny nose, sneezy, drippy nose and itchy watery eyes.”
Dr. Fitzgerald also cautions that those symptoms will likely become more common in the coming weeks as grass and other spring allergens begin to cause problems.
She says she understands the confusion and frustration, but works to remind the community that advise from the nation’s healthcare experts will change as they learn more about this new virus.
CBS 11 has also learned that testing criteria at federally controlled sites has also been revised to reflect the CDC’s current guidance: even a headache can now qualify a patient for testing.
But not everyone is interested.
“Not unique enough for me to instill fear in my family, or make anyone else nervous about it,” says Willibeth Sheffield in Dallas. “It’s normal to sneeze, we’re in spring season.”