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Healthy Living: Allergies

May 20, 2020

This blog is the third in an education series about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle while following the Stay-at-Home order.  Healthy Living blogs will be released each Wednesday and will be made available at

Allergy symptoms or COVID-19?

Hope you have enjoyed the healthy living tips which have been shared in the past two blogs. As the temperatures start to warm up enough to enjoy the great outdoors, the pollen count is also climbing.  If you suffer from allergies, you will now be faced with the challenge of deciding if your cough and sneeze are symptoms of COVID-19 or simply an annoying allergy.  Who ever thought you would be thankful for allergies?

Fever is a key difference between allergies and COVID-19

COVID-19 and allergies have some symptoms in common and some symptoms which help in determining which is the cause of those symptoms.  Symptoms characteristic for both include cough, runny nose, sneezing, skin rash, headache, sore throat and chest tightness.  COVID-19’s unique symptoms include higher fever, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste and smell, chest pain or pressure, confusion, and difficulty breathing.  Allergens usually only cause a low-grade fever, if at all, and may cause itchy eyes and itchy nose. If you have a history of allergies and these symptoms are your usual result when the spring pollens start to fill the air, then you probably are reacting to the allergens, rather than experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to call our COVID Communication Line, which is available for calls 24/7 at 815-874-4531. If your shortness of breath becomes moderate or severe, go to the closest Emergency Department for treatment.  

Take action to minimize allergy symptoms

Healthy living starts with prevention of illness and the following tips will assist you in preventing, or decreasing the severity of, your allergy symptoms. Keep in mind, these are general healthy living tips and you should always follow the instructions from your healthcare provider if they differ from these tips. 

  • Tip One: If you have had allergies in the past and have a maintenance plan for high pollen season, begin utilizing your personal plan as soon as the trees bud. Staying ahead of the allergens will help decrease the severity of your allergy symptoms.

  • Tip Two: If you know what things trigger your allergies, try to avoid them. Windy days spread allergens through the air causing you to experience an allergic response without even going near your trigger. Stay inside on windy days if possible.

  • Tip Three: Take a shower, wash your hair and put on clean clothes after coming in from outside. Also, if you like wearing pajamas, while you stay-at-home as I know I like to do, always put on a clean pair of pajamas before you go to bed so your bed doesn’t become a source of allergens.

  • Tip Four: If you are allergic to pets, maintain your bedroom as a NO PET ZONE.  This provides your body a rest period from allergens, while you sleep and a chance for the allergy medication to take control of your allergic response. If you have traditionally had pets in your bedroom, you will need to wash down your walls, baseboards, and floor with your usual cleaners as well as clean the carpet, if you have carpet. This will remove pet dander and then going forward, keep your pets out of your bedroom. The less exposure to the allergens the more comfortable you will be in your own home.

Staying at home, whether alone or with family, is stressful enough without adding allergy symptoms to increase your stress. Allergens tend to cause your body to be shaky and easily irritated by any stimulation, such as someone touching you or your clothing touching your skin. Destress by following the tips, in order to decrease the amount of stressors your body is managing. If you are feeling overstressed, visit for a list of resources to assist you in managing your stress.  Stay safe and healthy during this allergy season!