BALTIMORE (WJZ) — On a Friday afternoon in Baltimore, you’ll still see people running along Patterson Park. The slight breeze brings fresh air, but the allergy reports are a constant reminder pollen is gaining on us.
Tree pollen is high, while mold, grass and weed pollens are considered moderate.
Regular allergy sufferers know the sniffles alone can mean business, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, some wonder whether their coughs and shortness of breath are from allergies or COVID-19.
“I have to check why I’m coughing, why do I think I’m coughing and things like that,” 70-year-old Wayne Lampkin said while adjusting his black mask. “I don’t see anything so far associated with corona but I don’t know corona.”
Bethany Ely of Baltimore is well aware of her condition every day.
“I’ve been keeping track of my temperature. With allergies, you might have a cough or sneezing but if you have a fever, then that’s when I would start to worry about the coronavirus,” she said.
Dr. Paula Whittington of Kaiser Permanente described the symptoms people should be on the lookout for.
“Chills, muscle aches, you wouldn’t see that in allergies,” she said, “but there may definitely see shortness of breath if you have underlying asthma.”
It can be confusing, she said, but it’s important to get ahead of allergies early.
“You have to be consistent with your therapy. I tell my patients who have recurring springtime allergies to start that medicine before the tree pollen season hits the air,” she said.
Whittington knows stress levels are high but when in doubt, you should know who to call.
“Reach out to us,” she said. “We’re here for virtual visits. You don’t have to come to the office.”
Whittington said she’s not going to tell people to not go outside but added those with allergies should make sure to take their medication and take a shower to wash off the pollen as soon as they return home.
Originally published on WJZ CBS Baltimore. For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.