COVID-19 or seasonal allergies? How to tell the difference between the two

With spring beauty in full bloom comes some discomfort for many due to allergies.

Video Transcript

REPORTER: The start of spring and beauty blooms the Memphis Botanic Garden. A welcome sight for the garden's director of horticulture, Rick Pudwell, after an especially icy winter. But while some flowers and trees might just be starting to get their color back, Pudwell knows, here in the mid-south, allergies can affect people all year.

RICK PUDWELL: When you think about it, in our climate, even in the winter, there's always something in bloom.

REPORTER: And as we look ahead to warmer months--

RICK PUDWELL: There are several times during the year when we do have large amounts of pollen, especially when it's humid and hot weather.

REPORTER: Tonight, the Shelby County Health Department urges people to be extra cautious. Allergy symptoms can sometimes be similar to COVID-19 symptoms. Here's the list to compare a few common ones we see. Muscle aches are usually common with COVID-19-- but with allergies, they're not usually a symptom. With COVID-19, people are known to feel tired, but only sometimes with allergies. Sneezing is rare if you have COVID-19, but common with allergies. But sometimes, it's even tougher to tell.

DR. BRUCE RANDOLPH: Especially as it relates to cough, as it relates to congestion--

REPORTER: Dr. Bruce Randolph with the health department says, because of congestion, even with allergies, there could be loss of smell and taste. His advice if you are unsure--

DR. BRUCE RANDOLPH: When in doubt, check it out. Go get tested.

REPORTER: Especially if you don't usually experience allergy symptoms.