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They're definitely pretty to look at, but blooms can plague allergy sufferers. With individuals on edge at the onset of the slightest trace of symptoms, it's important to know the difference between seasonal allergies and coronavirus. Photo by Victoria Metcalf

Is it seasonal allergies or something more?

By Debra Moore

[email protected]

It’s seasonal allergy time, which means Plumas County residents might find themselves suffering from a host of symptoms that might have them wondering if it’s just an allergy or if it’s something more.

For those who might be suffering from allergies for the first time, here are the most usual symptoms according to the Mayo Clinic: itchy eyes, sneezing, runny and stuffy noses. Sometimes allergy sufferers also experience cough, fatigue and weakness. Rarely does a seasonal allergy cause a sore throat, and allergies do not present with a fever or general aches and pains (both hallmarks of COVID-19).

Seasonal allergies can be triggered by various tree and grass pollen. There are steps that individuals can take to minimize the impact of seasonal allergies, which manifest over dseveral weeks:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Delegate lawn mowing, weed pulling and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Remove clothes you’ve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Don’t hang laundry outside — pollen can stick to sheets and towels.
  • Wear a pollen mask if you do outside chores.
  • Close doors and windows at night or any other time when pollen counts are high.
  • Avoid outdoor activity in the early morning when pollen counts are highest.

Several types of nonprescription medications can help ease allergy symptoms according to advice from the Mayo Clinic. They include:

  • Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching, a runny nose and watery eyes. Examples of oral antihistamines include loratadine (Claritin, Alavert), cetirizine (Zyrtec Allergy) and fexofenadine (Allegra Allergy).
  • Decongestants. Oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others) can provide temporary relief from nasal stuffiness. Decongestants also come in nasal sprays, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). Only use nasal decongestants for a few days in a row. Longer-term use of decongestant nasal sprays can actually worsen symptoms (rebound congestion).
  • Nasal spray. Cromolyn sodium nasal spray can ease allergy symptoms and doesn’t have serious side effects, though it’s most effective when you begin using it before your symptoms start.
  • Combination medications. Some allergy medications combine an antihistamine with a decongestant. Examples include loratadine-pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D) and fexofenadine-pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D).

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