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Is Your Runny Nose a COVID-19 Symptom? What You Need to Know

In May, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore saw a significant rise, based on data from the Ministry of Health. Between May 5 and 11, there were approximately 25,900 cases, a stark increase from the previous week’s 13,700 cases.
Dr Dennis Chua - Understanding COVID 19 and Allergic Rhinitis - ENT Specialist in Singapore
UPDATED ON JULY 8, 2024 • REVIEWED BY DR. DENNIS CHUA

The average daily COVID-19 hospitalisations also rose, reaching about 250 from the previous week’s 181. However, the average daily Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases remained relatively low, increasing slightly from two to three cases.

The recent data underscores the need for continued vigilance in safeguarding one’s health. The pandemic has brought attention to various respiratory conditions, including allergic rhinitis.

The Relationship Between COVID-19 and Allergic Rhinitis


During lockdowns, a study showed nearly 40% of individuals with allergic rhinitis reported worsened symptoms due to increased exposure to indoor allergens like dust mites. This extended indoor stay heightened the symptoms for many, illustrating a link between environmental factors and allergic conditions.

Further, studies revealed that individuals with pre-existing asthma or allergic rhinitis are more at risk of developing long-term COVID-19 symptoms after infection. However, there is a need for more robust epidemiological research to clearly establish the role of allergy in the development of long COVID.

Is Runny Nose a Symptom of COVID-19?


Properly identifying COVID-19 symptoms is crucial for receiving appropriate care and preventing further spread. One common symptom people inquire about is a runny nose. While a runny nose can be a symptom of COVID-19, it can also result from allergies or the common cold.

Allergies are typically present with itchy eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion, while a cold often includes a sore throat and mild fever. In contrast, COVID-19 symptoms are broader and can include severe fatigue, cough, and significant fever.

To better understand if a runny nose is due to COVID-19, consider these key differences:

  1. Allergies: Usually come with itchy eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust, or pet dander may trigger symptoms.
  2. Common Cold: Often begins with a sore throat and then a runny or stuffy nose and mild fever. Symptoms typically resolve within a week.
  3. COVID-19: Symptoms are more varied and can include high fever, persistent cough, and severe fatigue. Loss of taste or smell is also a distinct indicator.

Managing a COVID-19 Runny Nose


Dealing with a runny nose from COVID-19 can be bothersome and impact daily activities. Here are some strategies to alleviate this symptom:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Antihistamines or nasal decongestants can help reduce nasal discharge and congestion.
  • Stay Hydrated: Consuming plenty of fluids can help thin mucus, making it easier to expel.
  • Use a Humidifier: Adding moisture to the air can soothe irritated nasal passages.
  • Rest: Getting enough rest is crucial for the body to fight off the infection.
  • Medical Advice: If symptoms persist or worsen, seeking medical advice is crucial to rule out complications and receive appropriate treatment.

If you are experiencing discomfort and want to alleviate your symptoms, you may schedule an appointment with ENT specialist Dr Dennis Chua. Long-term effects of COVID-19 can range from chronic fatigue to respiratory issues, significantly affecting the quality of life.

Managing these symptoms often involves a multidisciplinary approach:

  • Regular Consultations: Engage with healthcare providers to monitor and manage symptoms.
  • Symptom Management: Use over-the-counter medications for symptom relief and follow personalised treatment plans.
  • Lifestyle Adjustments: Incorporate healthy lifestyle practices, such as balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management, to support overall well-being.

What to Expect During COVID-19 and How to Manage Symptoms


The progression of COVID-19 symptoms typically starts with mild symptoms like a sore throat or runny nose, progressing to more severe symptoms such as high fever, cough, and difficulty breathing in some cases.

Early and consistent symptom management is key to recovery. Here are some steps to manage symptoms effectively:

  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Utilise medications for fever and pain relief, and antihistamines or decongestants for nasal symptoms.
  • Hydration: Maintain fluid intake to stay hydrated.
  • Rest: Ensure ample rest to aid the body’s recovery process.
  • Monitor Symptoms: Keep track of symptoms and their progression. If symptoms escalate, seek professional medical care promptly.
  • Seek Professional Care: If experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain, or confusion, immediate medical attention is necessary.


As the number of COVID-19 cases rises, it is important to remain vigilant and proactive about one’s health. Recognising symptoms early and differentiating them from other conditions can significantly impact recovery and prevent further transmission.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have concerns about managing allergic rhinitis, consulting an ENT specialist like Dr. Dennis Chua can provide valuable guidance and care. Taking proactive steps in health management is crucial, especially in the face of ongoing COVID-19 challenges. Book a consultation now.

If you have questions or concerns about your ears, nose, and throat,
you may book a consultation with Dr Dennis Chua, an ENT specialist in Singapore.
He has completed his training in otorhinolaryngology locally and attained qualifications internationally.