The start of fall brings pumpkin spice lattes, fresh apples and allergies. The most common causes of the sneezing, sniffling, headachy, red-eyed misery are ragweed and other weeds, trees, and mold and mildew from wet, fallen leaves.
However, with the presence of COVID-19, you may find yourself worrying that your symptoms are virus-related instead of allergies. That's understandable. Many symptoms, such as a sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of taste and smell can seem similar. But there are important differences.
Coronavirus symptoms are often accompanied by fever -- that's not an allergy symptom. Gastrointestinal distress and achy muscles are also not signals of seasonal allergies. Itchy eyes, nose, throat and ears? Sneezing? They're generally signs of an allergic reaction, especially if you get these symptoms annually.
But, if you're nervous about how you're feeling:
-- Make an appointment with an allergist. A scratch test will identify most allergens, if they're what's bothering you.
-- If you have allergies, avoid being outdoors during peak pollen hours (mid-morning to early afternoon).
-- When you do go out, say thanks to your pandemic mask ... it can reduce pollen exposure while you decrease the chance of spreading COVID-19.
-- Use a neti pot -- scrupulously cleaned -- twice a day to clear your sinuses and reduce irritation. You may also use over-the-counter antihistamines and other medications. Ask your doctor what's best.
-- Get a COVID test. If you don't typically suffer from allergies and you have new symptoms, getting tested is the smart (and socially responsible) thing to do.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.