CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Spring is in the air, and unfortunately so is the pollen. Now is the peak allergy season for grass and tree pollen, which can cause confusion telling the difference between allergy symptoms and COVID-19 symptoms.
In the United States as many as 60 million people suffer from seasonal spring allergies, but how do you tell it’s not COVID-19?
“Allergies typically cause sneezing spells. People with allergies typically sneeze several times in a row. You can have some sneezing with COVID but it’s not real common,” said Dr. James Clark at Thrush and Clark Allergists.
Doctors say COVID-19 symptoms are fever, chills and shortness of breath which will not occur from allergies.
“A big differentiation between upper respiratory infections and allergies is people will have itching because histamine is being released. So their nose will itch, their eyes will itch,” said Dr. Clark.
In order to avoid allergy symptoms, some residents continue to wear their masks outside.
“That is why I wear the mask. If it collects on my car, I don’t want it to collect in my lungs,” said Butch Hill, South Charleston Resident.
A study done by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that people’s allergies improved 30% when wearing a surgical mask and 40% when wearing an N-95 mask.
Allergists say they have been recommending masking up for years and know that it works.
“We’ve recommended for a long time, especially for people who cut the grass to wear a mask because a mask will be fairly efficient at blocking pollen particles,” said Dr. Clark.
The best way to prevent suffering from allergy symptoms this year?
“Doing the right thing after outdoor actives like showering. But also being on the right medicines, like a good anti-histamine and there are several on the market now,” said Dr. Clark.