ST. LOUIS — There’s something in the air around this time of year in St. Louis: allergens.
“Every year is a little bit different, this year probably more so,” said Dr. Jastin Antisdel, SLUCare ENT physician at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.
“Ragweed season has been pretty strong,” he said of the main culprit of autumn allergies around here. That’s because of the hot, humid summer months and the airy lightness of the plant’s pollen which can travel for miles.
As treatment, Dr. Antisdel recommends over the counter nasal sprays and antihistamines. If your seasonal allergies are particularly aggressive, Dr. Antisdel suggests seeking long-term therapies like drops and shots.
However, with COVID-19 infections still a threat and cold and flu season beginning, it’s also important to recognize the difference in symptoms.
A cough can be a sign of any of the issues, as well as fatigue, runny nose, headache, and a sore throat. If you're feeling itchy eyes or ears, those are signs of allergies. If you have a fever, body aches, shortness of breath or gastrointestinal issues, or loss of taste or smell, it could be time to get tested for COVID-19 and the flu.
“As far as your symptoms if you're going to have a covid breakthrough case are going to be consistent, they're going to be every day all through the day,” said Dr. Antisdel. “Allergy symptoms are much more going to wax and wane, depending on what you're doing throughout the day.”
Wash your hands, drink fluids and keep masking and social distancing when necessary to stay healthy this season. As for allergies, ragweed flows in the air, so rainy days help, as will the cooler temperatures that should come as we make our way through October.