Allergist diagnosing COVID symptoms vs. seasonal allergies

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As our clocks spring ahead preparing for the start of a new season, it’s also time to plan for seasonal allergies to spring up again. Dr. Scott Osur of Certified Allergy and Asthma Consultants says that sometimes, his toughest challenge one year into the COVID pandemic is figuring out who actually needs his help.

“It has been a particular challenge,” Dr. Osur says. “If a patient is not sure of whether it’s allergies or possibly an infectious process like coronavirus, it’s very important for them to talk to either their specialist or their primary care physician.”

He says some symptoms are easy — fever and loss of taste and smell are expected for COVID, while itchy eyes and skin are more exclusive to allergies. However, Dr. Osur says too often, folks assume they know what they’re allergic to when it’s better to be sure.

“There’s a simple skin test you can do and have answers in 45 minutes, confirm allergies, and thereby to a certain degree, exclude infectious processes,” he explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton.

Dr. Osur says allergy management is only effective when medication, shots, or drops are taken regularly. However, he also says don’t assume your treatments for respiratory allergies will have any effect on COVID respiratory symptoms.

“I don’t think they’re going to make the symptoms of COVID any worse, but they’re really not going to be effective,” Dr. Osur says. “Taking an antihistamine or nasal steroid spray, it’s just not going to do anything for you.”

He says it’s better to get vaccinated if you can, and keep using COVID precautions, since even vaccines aren’t 100% effective. Also, take extra care if you suffer from chronic inflammation, like asthma.

“We do strongly encourage anyone, particularly those with asthma, to get the coronavirus vaccine, because there’s some sense that if you have moderate to severe asthma, you can have more problems with COVID,” Dr. Osur says.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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