Fall allergy season is coming

Seasonal allergies are rough for the Ohio Valley

Fall in the Ohio Valley is tough — ragweed and pigweed are blooming, and combined with hot, humid weather and poor air quality, it can make for a miserable couple of months for people with allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists Louisville in the top 20 among its 2021 Allergy Capitals.

Seasonal allergies can have many of the same symptoms as other conditions, such as the common cold or a sinus infection. You also may be concerned that some of the symptoms you are experiencing may be related to COVID-19.

If you feel like you have a cold every spring and fall, it could be a sign of seasonal allergies. Allergies and colds can trigger sinus infections — congestion can create a breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to treat allergy and cold symptoms to prevent the development of a sinus infection.

Whether you have a cold allergies, antibiotics don’t help treat these conditions most of the time. If a sinus infection has persisted over a week or a week and a half (seven to 10 days), antibiotics may help. Over-the-counter medications like nasal sprays, oral antihistamines and eye drops can help relieve your symptoms. If you’re experiencing allergies, try to limit your exposure to your known triggers.

Seasonal allergies typically cause itchiness in the eyes and throat but usually don’t result in a fever. COVID-19 often causes shortness of breath or trouble breathing, along with fever and body aches, symptoms that are not typical of allergies. While you may have a runny nose with either condition, it’s also uncommon to lose your sense of taste and smell with allergies.

Symptoms more common with COVID-19

  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle and body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Symptoms common of allergies and colds

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose

Symptoms more common with seasonal allergies

  • Itchy or watery eyes
  • Sneezing

Here’s a symptom checker to help you determine if it’s a cold, allergies, sinus infection or COVID-19.

Signs/symptoms Cold >Allergy Sinus infection COVID-19
Aches/pains Sometimes Never Headache/sinus pressure/ tenderness Usually
Cough Usually Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes
Fatigue/feeling tired Sometimes Sometimes Usually Usually
Fever Sometimes, may be mild Never Sometimes Usually
Itchy eyes Rarely Sometimes Rarely Rarely
Runny nose Usually; discolored or clear to yellow mucus Usually; discolored or clear to yellow mucus Usually; green or yellow mucus Sometimes
Sore throat Usually Sometimes Rarely Sometimes
Sneezing Usually Usually Rarely Rarely
Stuffy nose Usually Usually Usually Rarely
Postnasal drip (mucus in throat) Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Rarely
New loss of taste or smell Rarely Rarely Rarely Usually
Nausea/vomiting Rarely Rarely Rarely Sometimes

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