Allergies or COVID? Louisville doctor explains the symptoms to watch for | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Spring is allergy season in Kentuckiana, but with COVID on the rise, how do you tell if you’re sick or just need an antihistamine?

Experts at Louisville’s Family Allergy & Asthma said allergies are hitting some people hard right now. How long that congestion and sneezing may last depends on what allergies you have.

Dr. Stephen Pollard said tree pollen and grass are peaking now. Grass will continue through the summer and ragweed will become an issue later in the summer months.

“Data shows as the planet warms and CO2 goes up, not only do we get more pollen but it’s stronger. So there can be variability from season to season,” said Pollard. “This is a robust season.”

While COVID vaccinations are a big step in the right direction, Pollard said  increased immunity can make virus symptoms harder to spot. 

“It’s extremely difficult right now because we have so much immunity. Early on it was pretty classic,” said Pollard. “Because they have immunity, their COVID symptoms are much milder.”

Pollard says there is some overlap between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms, but says allergies won’t cause a fever or body aches. 

He also said allergy medicine won’t do anything for COVID-19, so if you take allergy pills and don’t feel better, it’s a good sign you could have the virus.

COVID-19 affects each person differently and can have a wide number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. With the coronavirus, you may have fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea or shortness of breath, according to the CDC. 

Doctors at Family Allergy & Asthma said it’s best to know what allergies you have and the time of year that bothers you most.

Many people can manage symptoms with over the counter medicines. There are also some actions you can take to help reduce symptoms during allergy season including keeping windows and doors closed to keep pollen out, replace your HVAC filter and wear a mask when mowing or doing yardwork.

The good news is that pollen levels drop after the first freeze, and in Kentuckiana that first freeze is usually in late October.

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