Symptoms could point to seasonal allergies, the flu, a cold, or COVID-19.
Frederick, MD (KB) Fall has officially begun and many are experiencing signs of illness. Leslie Peterson is a Nurse Practitioner and Senior Practice Manager at CVS MinuteClinic. She explained how to determine if your symptoms are allergy-related or something more serious.
“Allergies are consistent with itchy eyes and nose, post-nasal drip, runny nose, sneezing, maybe a little bit of a scratchy throat,” Peterson explained.
Peterson said a common cause of seasonal allergies is ragweed, which peaks in mid-September and lasts until late November. She also said mold can cause these symptoms.
“Leaves are falling off the trees and we have rain and cooler temperatures at night — those areas will actually produce mold spores and that can also trigger some of the cold-like Fall seasonal symptoms,” said Peterson.
More severe symptoms that are not usually associated with allergies flu include extreme fatigue, body aches, headaches, and a fever. Peterson said those symptoms are more consistent with the flu.
“The big thing with the flu is that you’re gonna have that immediate onset of symptoms,” she said. “Suddenly just not feel well at all — you may feel fine that morning and then by the afternoon you feel miserable.”
What’s confusing about this time of year is being able to determine if the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to seasonal allergies, the flu, a cold, or the coronavirus.
“So COVID-19 we know now can have an array of symptoms and it can mimic, you know, things like the common cold, it can mimic allergies,” Peterson said. “If you’re running a fever and you’re just not really feeling well, you think, ‘this isn’t like my normal allergies or common cold,’ then you want to think COVID-19.”
Peterson said if you’re in doubt about your symptoms and think it could be COVID, then get tested.
“If you think it might be Fall allergies, you can treat that with over the counter allergy medication,” she said. “If you feel like it’s a little more severe and maybe could be something like COVID or the flu or strep throat, then I would definitely go see your primary care physician or you can go to the MinuteClinic — we’re open seven days a week — and be seen there.”