The Oklahoman

How to protect yourself amid the state’s high allergen counts

- Jessie Christophe­r Smith

Allergen counts in Oklahoma are high, leaving residents to wonder whether symptoms are from seasonal allergies or COVID-19.

The Oklahoma Allergy & Asthma Clinic published a report with high levels of grass pollen, ragweed pollen and mold for the beginning of September.

The Oklahoma allergy report for Thursday, Sept. 2, shows high levels for grass, weeds and mold.

Some symptoms of seasonal allergies and COVID-19 can be similar, but there are ways to distinguis­h the two.

An allergy usually shows through a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and a sore throat.

If a person is running a fever, experience­s body aches or feels weak, these are more likely to be symptoms of COVID-19.

Seasonal allergies also do not typically lead to shortness of breath or labored breathing, unless the person has a respirator­y condition like asthma that can be triggered from pollen.

Studies show that increased pollen exposure also can increase the potential for COVID-19 infection. Immune response is weaker in people with allergies and asthma, which can leave a person more susceptibl­e to the coronaviru­s.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing masks to better protect yourself from COVID-19 and to keep the virus from being spread. The masks also can filter tiny pollen grains, preventing the wearer from breathing them in.

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