(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Now that fall is here, parents are bracing themselves for the usual cold, flu, and allergy threats.
With Covid-19 and RSV cases spiking in parts of the country, some are worried about what their sniffles or other symptoms mean.
"We are in peak weed allergen season right now,” Dr. Marissa Love an Allergist with the University of Kansas Health System said.
KU Health doctors took time during a news briefing to help us spot the difference between allergies and Covid-19 in adults and kids.
"I think because we know these symptoms occur whether it's allergies, other viruses, other illnesses, there is a concern that people will be spending a lot of money doing these home tests,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, KU Health Infectious Disease Director said.
Dr. Love says if it's fall allergies, most people will experience nose and eye symptoms.
“Typical symptoms involve itchy symptoms so itchy nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, you can have congestion of the nose, you can also have drip at the back of your throat,” Dr. Love said.
But it can still be confusing like some experience a loss of taste and smell with allergies.
“It's quite challenging to differentiate COVID symptoms, viral symptoms from allergies. Plus, kids have been out of school for a long time so there's a whole Petri of viruses going around so it can really mimic other viruses as well,” Dr. Love said.
She says if you're not sure, go back and look at your exposures.
“Were they around somebody who potentially was sick. Have other people in the home getting sick and now you're thinking this is more of a virus,” Dr. Love said.
Dr. Love says another red flag might not be seasonal allergies.
“A person who has never had Hay fever or runny nose, itchy nose, sneezing, congestion. If they've never had those seasonal symptoms before and then all of a sudden they get all of it pretty significantly, I would be pretty suspicious,” Dr. Love said.
She says if you still don't know and your goal is to keep your child, loved ones, or community safe, here are her top three recommendations.
"We are living in challenging times and so I think the most important thing is everyone in the home that is 12 and up should be vaccinated for COVID-19,” Dr. Love said.
Dr. Love: Everyone who goes to a public school or public place should mask indoors and if you are in very crowded areas outdoors, I would consider masking,” Dr. Love said.
Number three, particularly for kids.
“Washing your hands at school is very important,” Dr. Love said.
If you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms before any kind of medical appointment, KU health doctors recommend asking for a telehealth option to avoid putting other patients at risk of exposure.