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'Spring of 2020 looks like it’s going to be a doozy,' says allergist

Combine high amounts of allergens with a viral outbreak, and it's not a great season for asthmatics.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — People with allergies have a lot to worry about in the spring.

This year, those people should watch out for a few more things. First, the covid-19 viral outbreak, and a higher than normal allergy season.

“Spring of 2020 looks like it’s going to be a doozy,” said Karyn Gell, an allergist at Grand Rapids Allergy.

She said right now, things like cedar and maple trees are beginning to pollinate. Soon, it will be grass and weeds.

“Allergies are a big factor in people’s asthma,” said Gell, “So, if we can help manage and keep those patients healthy and out of the emergency room, that’s very important.”

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This is especially concerning, she said, for asthmatics. That’s because asthma symptoms can be exasperated by both allergens and viral infections.

“There’s not data necessarily that asthmatics are having a more severe outcome if they contract covid,” said Gell, “but asthma itself is a risk factor.”

She recommends asthma patients continue to use their steroid inhalers.

Also, as more people stay indoors, some are experiencing symptoms of allergies to indoor allergens, like dust, mites, and animal dander.

One large challenge is differentiating allergy symptoms with symptoms of coronavirus.

RELATED: Springtime Symptoms: Allergies or Illness?

“It’s very confusing, because many of the symptoms for allergy can cross to what an infection may feel like,” said Gell, “But one of the differences with allergy are that itching and sneezing is more prominent in allergic patient than the infections.”

The big thing to watch out for, she said, is a fever. That means an infection.

Symptoms for Allergies:

  • Itchy eyes, nose and mouth
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Tiredness

Symptoms of Covid-19:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Body aches

RELATED: Know the difference between COVID-19, flu and allergies

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, in terms of illness, this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst in a decade


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