Allergies or COVID: Spring pollen levels to rise with weather temperature

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Spring is in the air and that is the problem for so many with environmental allergies.

"It was awful," said Amy Driscoll. "I woke up with a headache and my face was all puffy."

Driscoll is a suburban teacher who had a rough Thursday morning due to her tree allergy.

Now that the allergy season is upon us, doctors at Loyola Medicine started their spring pollen report Thursday and shared the video of their collection site atop Gottlieb Hospital.

In the first day's report:
Mold - Low
Trees - Moderate

"We started out with moderate levels [Thursday] but my expectation is with the warming up this weekend, that it should be at high levels again," said Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Rachna Shah with Loyola Medicine.

Dr. Shah said she's seen an increase in patients with allergy symptoms in the last couple of weeks and understands allergy symptoms may be more of a concern during this pandemic

"Itchy eyes, itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose - things like that versus COVID symptoms can involve a lot more nasal congestions and a big differentiating factor is fevers," she said.

After years of allergy symptoms and having gone through last allergy season during the pandemic, Driscoll has been able to rule out COVID.

So she and so many others will look toward medications and sprays for relief until their allergy seasons come to an end.

"I actually love when it's going to be winter because that's the freeze and everything dies, and I feel better," Driscoll said. "Knowing it's been the pandemic, I'm very happy with the warm weather so I can't complain."

Dr. Shah urges anyone who is unsure about their symptoms to get tested for COVID.
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