COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — If you’ve noticed yourself developing a runny nose or scratchy throat, you may be wondering, “Is it allergies or COVID-19?”

As the weather shifts towards the peak of allergy season, a local physician is weighing in on the differences between the two, and way to stay healthy this spring.

“If you say, ‘I’ve never had allergies and now I’m getting them this year for the first time,’ make sure it’s not COVID,” warns Dr. Anup Kanodia.

It’s the warning that local medical experts are sending this spring as more patients complain of allergy-like symptoms.

“A lot. People say, ‘Hey doc, I just haven’t felt good these last two-three weeks,” Dr. Kanodia explains. “And they’ll be like, ‘Well, I was around some people that didn’t wear masks.'”

Dr. Kanodia, a local family physician, says while there are some similarities between the two.

“The things that are similar — sneezing, headache, congestion, fatigue, cough, headaches, even sore throat,” details Dr. Kanodia. “That’s what each of those can have.”

But for Dr. Kanodia, it’s recognizing their differences that can help protect you and those around.

“Pick one of them in your head. One list. Either the ones that only COVID people have, or the ones that only allergy people have. That’s step number one,” Dr. Kanodia suggests.

Allergy symptoms include things like itchy and watery eyes, or an itchy nose. But for COVID, it’s the many symptoms we’ve been warned against for the past two years.

“Think of it more as a cold or flu symptoms; fevers, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, right?” says Dr. Kanodia. “So think of those things. Loss of smell, loss of taste, we keep hearing about. And shortness of breath.”

Dr. Kanodia admits he has seen huge differences in age populations– with younger people more likely to experience allergies, and the elderly more susceptible to COVID-19.

“If you think you’re having symptoms, start taking allergy types of treatments. Because then if it is truly allergies, it should go away,” Dr. Kanodia suggests.

Beyond medication, he offers a few tips to reduce your exposure.

“Close your windows in your house. That air gets in the house, causes allergy symptoms,” explains Dr. Kanodia. “If you’re going to exercise, exercise more indoors than outdoors during allergy symptoms time.”

Also warning people to pay close attention to where your symptoms originate.

“If you feel like you’re getting a cold or flu in your nose or throat, that’s early onset COVID and you should get checked out. That’s the critical thing,” Dr. Kanodia emphasizes.

Dr. Kanodia says that anyone with allergy symptoms should see an improvement with medication in 2-3 days, adding if those symptoms continue for an extended period of time, it may be COVID and it is critical to get tested right away.