How to differentiate between COVID-19 and allergies

As allergy season begins sneezes and coughs could cause concern
Ragweeds release pollen in the air, forcing allergic reactions.
Ragweeds release pollen in the air, forcing allergic reactions.(WSAW)
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 5:11 PM EDT
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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - As we approach Fall, allergy season is starting for millions of Americans. COVID-19 cases are still spreading and a cough or sneeze could cause concern in public places.

So how do you know the difference? Dr. Ghassan Safadi is a board-certified allergist and says while symptoms might appear similar there are a few key things that can set the two apart.

“Congestion, in general, is not a symptom of COVID, neither or itchy eyes. So if you get a lot of itching and congestion, it’s more likely allergies,” says Dr. Safadi.

If you do suffer from seasonal allergies, doctors recommend that you pre-treat the problem to avoid symptoms. DR. Safadi recommends starting your allergy medication about 2 weeks before the season starts. If ragweed is your biggest concern, right now the levels are still low. Dr. Safadi believes that is due to the lack of rain in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. He is predicting that the season will pack a punch once we see some rain.

As for treatment, over-the-counter medication will typically work. If it doesn’t, Dr. Safadi says sometimes those with asthma might have additional struggles when it comes to high levels of weed or mold spores in the air. If you are still unsure if you are having allergy symptoms or are concerned about COVID-19, call your doctor.

Dr. Safadi tracks the daily pollen count from the rooftop of his Sylvania office. The results are posted on Facebook and in the Allergy App he created. You can download the app on your smartphone.

Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.

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