Early Spring Allergies In Connecticut & Knowing the Difference Between COVID-19

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You’ve probably noticed spring popping up across the state. Daffodils blooming, tulips quickly growing, trees getting more colorful, but these signs of spring come at a cost for allergy sufferers.

You might be finding yourself trying to get outside any chance you can -- to soak in some Vitamin D, get some fresh air and stretch your legs - but if you suffer from seasonal allergies, you need to prepare earlier than normal this year.

“Because we have had a general warming of our temperatures earlier in the year so we start our spring season with tree pollen March 1st now and it used to be, 10 years ago or more, April 1st,” said Dr. Christopher Randolph, a Clinical Professor in Allergy, Immunology and Pediatrics at Yale University.

Allergy season isn’t only starting early, it's ending later, extending through November with our first frosts occurring later in the fall season.

When it comes to preventing those pesky allergy symptoms, Dr. Randolph said, if you haven’t started medicating already, specifically with nasal spray, you need to start now.

“It takes a week to two weeks of that nasal spray to really work and take effect so if you’re starting it and stopping it you’re not really getting the effect from it at all,” Randolph said.

Other advice for alleviating allergy symptoms includes taking the proper medication, trying to keep your windows shut, take a shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside for an extended period of time, and adding local honey to your tea or coffee to help protect against your local pollen.

And With COVID 19 top of mind, remember to separate the symptoms.

“You have no fever,” says Dr. Randolph.  “You have itching. Itching is a classic characteristic of all allergies so itchy eyes, nose sneezing, that kind of thing, watery eyes nose nasal congestion sneezing so those would be the characteristic of a usual type of nasal problem as opposed to the COVID-19, which would be more fever cough and shortness of breath.”

The pollen and mold reports you get on NBC Connecticut are as local as it gets, we get our information right from Waterbury Hospital, which has been recording daily allergy reports for 34 years, and holds a pretty special accolade.

“We’re certainly the longest standing pollen count center in the world in a community hospital.”

However, the pollen and mold counting at Waterbury Hospital is done in the hematology lab, so the reports will have a later start than normal this year while doctors use the lab to help test for COVID-19.

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