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As Spring Allergies Spike, Doctors Say Test For COVID As A Precaution

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- We went from extreme cold to a really quick warm up in just a matter of days, and that abrupt temperature change is bringing on those spring allergies for many of us.

However, doctors want to remind you that we're still in a pandemic, and what you might think are allergy symptoms could actually be COVID-19.

"I'm allergic to every tree in our yard, and mold and dust, so I'm usually ready for anything in the spring," said Liz Fable, who lives in Eden Prairie and expects her allergies and asthma to kick in this time of year when the snow begins melting. She didn't question feeling sick.

"We were just so sure we could explain away every symptom with spring allergies," said Fable.

Fable says she wasn't feeling well for three days before she finally got a COVID test, where she ended up testing positive.

"So in those three days, [I went] grocery shopping, gas, all that stuff," said Fable, "I feel bad, but I'm sure there are people out there who don't even think to get tested at all."

Snow mold is really common right now as the snow is melting all over the state. It's formed from moist soil and decaying plants. It causes symptoms like runny nose, congestion and sneezing, but if you have asthma the symptoms are a little bit more severe, like coughing and shortness of breath, which as we all know by now, these are the same symptoms of COVID-19.

"Some symptoms of COVID can overlap with allergies," said Dr. Pramod Kelkar, an allergist with Allina Health.

He says this confusion over allergies and COVID symptoms is something he expects to see more in the coming weeks.

"I won't be surprised if I start seeing that in the near future as we are going to kick into allergy season here beginning next week," said Kelkar.

He says frequent COVID testing is the easiest way to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus.

"I would highly recommend if you're feeling anything other than normal to go get tested," said Fable.

Kelkar says the masks we're wearing also protect us against allergens. COVID-19 testing is free in our state. To find a COVID testing site near you, click here.

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