Background: Although there are many asymptomatic patients, one of the problems of COVID-19 is early recognition of the disease. COVID-19 symptoms are polymorphic and may include upper respiratory symptoms. However, COVID-19 symptoms may be mistaken with the common cold or allergic rhinitis. An ARIA-EAACI study group attempted to differentiate upper respiratory symptoms between the three diseases.
Methods: A modified Delphi process was used. The ARIA members who were seeing COVID-19 patients were asked to fill in a questionnaire on the upper airway symptoms of COVID-19, common cold and allergic rhinitis.
Results: Among the 192 ARIA members who were invited to respond to the questionnaire, 89 responded and 87 questionnaires were analysed. The consensus was then reported. A two-way ANOVA revealed significant differences in the symptom intensity between the three diseases (p < .001).
Conclusions: This modified Delphi approach enabled the differentiation of upper respiratory symptoms between COVID-19, the common cold and allergic rhinitis. An electronic algorithm will be devised using the questionnaire.
Keywords: COVID-19; allergic rhinitis; common cold; cough; smell.
© 2021 European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.