Experiencing allergies? Ragweed count is high in New Orleans

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 4:56 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -If you’re wondering why you’re congested, sneezing and coughing all of a sudden, it could be due to the high ragweed count we’re experiencing right now.

“We are seeing a lot more patients who are suffering from allergies and coming back to our clinics,” said LSU Health Allergy and Immunology physician, Dr. Sanjay Kamboj, M.D.

“The main complaints with the allergies is, nasal congestion and runny nose, postnasal drip and because of the post nasal drip there may be sore throat sometimes and we are talking about loss of sense of smell with the Covid, so, sometimes people who have really, really bad allergies, they may have stuffy nose and get a little confusion with that.”

Some allergy symptoms can be similar to what patients might experience with Covid-19 or the Flu, but Kamboj says there are also some big differences.

“With allergies, you usually don’t have a high fever, severe body aches, loss of sense of smell, maybe very little percent of patients, but most of the patients do not have that problem,” Kamboj said. “So, if you have a very high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, coughing up phlegm maybe or maybe not, that’s more worrisome either with Covid illness or flu-like illness.”

Before you got to work or school, he says it’s a good idea to take your temperature in the morning and also do a symptom check. If it’s allergies, Kamboj recommends using a saline nasal spray twice a day, once in the morning, and before you go to bed at night to clear your nose of allergens. Also, avoid exercising outside in the morning when pollen counts are highest.

If you’re having symptoms and you’re not sure whether it’s allergies or something more serious like Covid-19, Kamboj recommends calling your doctor. You don’t necessarily have to be seen in person as many providers are now offering virtual appointments. A physician can then decide whether you need to be tested for Coronavirus.

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