Are you experiencing seasonal allergies or the new coronavirus? Doctor weighs in

A Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police vehicle is parked on the other side of a tape police line along the Tidal Basin as cherry blossoms cover the trees, in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2020. As Washington, D.C. continues to work to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mayor Muriel Bowser extended road closures and other measures to restrict access to the Tidal Basin, a main tourist attraction. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Mega Doctor News

Even though many seeking to escape outdoors amid the pandemic may hope for dry weather, allergy sufferers may want to wish for the occasional rainstorm that can help to clear the air of most but not all allergens.   

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – April 3, 2020 – Sixteen days after coming down with what he thought was a case of seasonal allergies, or perhaps the common cold, 35-year-old Mike O’Brien died, The Hartford Courant reported. What his symptoms actually stemmed from was COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tom Kines said, the mild March weather this year has allowed for plants and trees to begin blooming faster, leading ultimately to a fast and intense allergy season.

“This season so far is shaping up to be quite a high pollen season for those from Georgia through the Carolinas so far,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said. “They have had some very high tree pollen levels, especially lately without much rainfall to clear the air of pollen.”

Due to the way March has gone in terms of weather conditions, Kines said people are “most definitely” experiencing seasonal allergies right now — during a viral pandemic. And with growing worry over a staggering number of cases in the U.S. and worldwide, symptoms that could be confused for COVID-19 could surely cause added anxiety for those who suffer from allergies.

“If everything ‘pops’ at once it sets the stage for a bad but short allergy season,” Kines said. “A cool spring allows the vegetation to open slowly, which in turn allows for a more manageable allergy season but also a longer one.”

Jennifer Dantzer, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University said there are some symptoms of seasonal allergies that could be mistaken for COVID-19 symptoms, but many of the symptoms differ.

“A big difference is fever, that is common with COVID-19 but should not be caused by seasonal allergies. You also typically don’t get body aches with allergies but you can see it with COVID-19,” Dantzer, who works in the school’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, told AccuWeather. “Things like sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose are common with allergies but not with COVID-19.”