Sore throat? It Could Be Seasonal Allergies, Strep Throat or Covid

It’s that time of year again... the tricky season from March-June where you find yourself deciphering if your or your child's sore throat is just a symptom of seasonal allergies or something worse, like strep throat. And now following a pandemic, a sore throat could be covid. Since a sore throat is a common symptom of all three, you may be feeling a bit perplexed and left with many questions. To be honest, we have been feeling a bit perplexed ourselves, so we have created a breakdown that may help provide a better understanding of what that sore throat really means. 


Seasonal Allergies vs. Strep Throat vs. Covid Symptoms

Seasonal Allergies


  • Red and itchy eyes
  • Runny nose 
  • Itchy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Slight cough


Strep Throat


  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Red tonsils with white spots (pus)
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Headache, abdominal pain




  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches 


What are the key differences in symptoms? 

With seasonal allergies you may see a runny, itchy nose accompanied by sneezing. In most situations, those symptoms are not identified in cases of strep throat or covid-19. 


If strep throat is present, you may see swollen, red tonsils with white spots. Red tonsils with white spots should not show up in cases of seasonal allergies or coronavirus. 


In the case of covid, you may witness shortness of breath and a deep cough. Unless asthma or other lung issues are factors, shortness of breath or a deep cough with seasonal allergies or strep throat most likely will not be present. 


Are all three contagious? 

Seasonal allergies are not contagious. Seasonal allergies are developed due to luck of the draw or a strong family history. Strep throat and covid, however, are extremely contagious, and precautions should be taken to avoid contact with others. You can help prevent the spread of anything by washing your hands frequently, sneezing into your arm, and taking antibiotics if needed.


What are the treatments? 

To treat seasonal allergies, you can use an oral antihistamine treatment (non-prescription), nasal spray, and/or eye drops. Take the dosing or apply as listed on the package. If you have questions about the interference of drugs or age restrictions, please consult your doctor. To help keep track of when certain seasonal allergies may be on the rise, you can follow local pollen counts at


In order to diagnose strep throat, you must take a rapid strep test or throat culture. Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. You can get fast treatment by using Checkable's at-home strep tests and app to diagnose, treat, and get meds, all from home.


Currently, there is no known treatment for covid other than vaccinations and possibly anti-val meds if necessary. Covid tests are widely accessible and will give you results in minutes.


If you are still left feeling perplexed about whether that sore throat is related to seasonal allergies, strep throat, or covid, you are encouraged to reach out to a medical professional to seek clarification and guidance.