Nearly 25 percent of people suffer from allergies. This year's season will be more complicated as we continue to fight cases of COVID-19. Richard Mangi, MD, an allergist with Northeast Medical Group, said there are some overlapping symptoms to look out for.
"Seasonal allergies are common. Unfortunately COVID-19 is common right now. Sneezing, runny nose, congestion, mild aches and pains, mild cough, can occur with both conditions," Dr. Mangi said.
However, symptoms related to the virus tend to be much more severe and can include a high fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of sense of taste and smell, diarrhea and nausea. It's more common to confuse the common cold with allergies. Dr. Mangi said most of his patients have suffered from allergies for a long time, and are very familiar with their symptoms this time of year. In addition, the common cold may be accompanied by a sore throat and low-grade fever.
Asthma patients should continue to take their asthma medications. If you suspect you have COVID-19, stay home, monitor your symptoms and call your primary care physician.
"People who are immunosuppressed or have severe asthma, or people who are living with people who are high risk, probably ought to be tested," Dr. Mangi said.
For anyone who hasn't been able to find relief from their seasonal allergies using over-the-counter medication and help from their primary care physician, it might be time to consider an allergist. Despite the pandemic, specialists like Dr. Mangi are seeing patients thanks to video visits.
"I've been treating a lot of my patients via telemedicine. I think it's a wonderful tool. I really like it and the patients like it," Dr. Mangi said. "There are some limitations. I can't examine a patient, I can't skin test them. I can't do specific monitoring exams for the severity of their asthma. But for the average patient who is a good historian, it's a wonderful tool and I hope it continues after the COVID epidemic has passed."