ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Spring is upon us, and the sounds of the season are being heard loud and clear already—coughing, sneezing, and coworkers blowing their noses. So many seem to have a bug right now, and it’s not easy to navigate.
It’s hard to nail down if it’s covid, the flu, allergies, or all of the above. News10’s Stephanie Rivas spoke with Dr. Frank Contacessa from Northwell Health to garner some advice on how to treat varying symptoms and when to call a doctor.
Albany ranks in the top 10 allergy capitals in the United States according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s (AAFA) 2022 Allergy Capitals™ report.
“It’s a crazy time because it’s the end of flu season and the start of allergy season,” Dr. Contacessa said.
From sinus pressure to nasal congestion, Spring symptoms can be a nuisance. Dr. Contacessa said if you don’t have a fever, your first line of defense is over-the-counter antihistamines.
“The purpose here is to cut down on the post nasal drip and mucus production. So number one, you feel a little bit better, but it also helps to prevent a sinus infection.” Dr. Contacessa said.
However, it’s hard to know what your sneeze or other symptoms mean. Dr. Contacessa said the flu sets itself apart with high fever and chills.
“So, when you wake up, and you literally can’t get out of bed, most likely that’s the flu,” Dr. Contacessa said. “With prior strains of COVID, there is a lot of overlap there.”
Dr. Contacessa added that the most dominant strain of COVID —Omicron B.A2—is different from previous variants like Delta, which hit the lungs and caused pneumonia.
“Omicron hits the nasal passages, causes nasal passage and sinus congestion and nasal drip. Which are the very same symptoms allergies can cause, Dr. Contacessa said.
He suggested taking an at-home COVID test for mild symptoms.
But when should you see your physician?
Dr. Contacessa recommended seeing a doctor if you have a fever that won’t come down with acetaminophen and ibuprofen, worsening sinus pressure, trouble breathing, or a wet cough.