Virus or allergies? Fall allergy season has arrived

Local News

HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The fall allergy season has arrived, and identifying symptoms can help determine if your symptoms are allergies or something more serious.

Allergy and Immunology Specialist, Dr. William McKenna, M.D., said allergies during this season are caused by weed pollen, grass pollen, mold spores, and air pollution.

He explained the pollens start after heavy rains because weeds begin growing rapidly after and mold spores occur.

Dr. McKenna said allergic reactions to these allergens can be identified through several common symptoms.

“Typically, the sneezing, runny nose, itchy nose, itchy watery eyes, often we’ll be a clearing of the throat, irritation of the throat and unfortunately, those that have symptoms in the lower respiratory tract often cough and can be wheezy and shortness of breath,” Dr. McKenna explained about allergy symptoms.

He said the biggest distinction between allergies and viruses such as COVID-19, is fever. He said allergies will not cause a fever.

Dr. McKenna said some severe allergies may cause the loss of taste or smell, but that symptom will not happen as rapidly as it would with being infected with COVID-19 or other viruses.

He advised that an easy way to know if your symptoms are more than allergies is to determine if you have been around anyone who has been sick with a fever, flu, or cold.

Allergy flare-ups during the fall can be severe if you already suffer from indoor allergies caused by dust mites and pets, according to Dr. McKenna.

He said there are over-the-counter allergy medications such as nasal sprays and antihistamines that can help relieve allergy symptoms.

He explained that it is important to take the medication in the right dosage and for the recommended duration for an effective treatment.

Dr. McKenna said the number one treatment for allergies is to avoid being outdoors for too long.

“When it’s a windy day or when there are factors that may involve them having a higher amount of exposure such as mowing the grass or participating in activities that will be on grassy areas, they are likely to have more symptoms and if they do, then either these days we can either mask up or spend less elective time outside,” said Dr. McKenna.

He said one outdoor activity that people with allergies can participate in, is taking a walk at the beach along the shore.

He explained that there are no pollens at the beach and the air is purer there which can help relieve allergy symptoms.

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

Community Stories