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Seasonal Allergies Or COVID-19? Doctor Says Being Indoors For A Year May Lead To 'Terrible Allergies'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- This year, seasonal allergies are crashing with yet another wave of COVID.

Spring is in the air, and so is the pollen.

Priscilla Blanco, of the Bronx, knows every year when New York City is in bloom, she'll be bursting with symptoms.

"I have a dry, scratchy throat, and my nose is always stuffy," she said.

"Everyone's terrified. 'Oh no, could I have COVID or do I have allergies?'" ENT surgeon Dr. Shawn Nasseri told CBS2's Jessica Layton.


Nasseri says he's seeing a rush of patients coming in, asking, "What's making me feel miserable?"

"We're seeing terrible allergies because a lot of us have been indoors for the last year," Nasseri said.

It doesn't help that common symptoms overlap.

"Well, there's the congestion ... the runny nose," said Dr. John Lopez, who runs the American Family Care Clinic in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. "The symptoms that really point towards COVID, the more serious symptoms like the cough, the productive cough, the shortness of breath, the fevers."

He says high fever and sudden loss of taste usually aren't allergy symptoms, while itchy, watery eyes and sneezing aren't often part of COVID.

Now doctors say there's more than one reason to wear your mask. New research shows it not only protects against COVID; it can also defend against some of the most common allergens.

There are also some triggers you may not realize are making your allergies worse -- like wine. Researchers believe bacteria and yeast in alcohol produce histamines.

Dust mites love bedding and mattresses, so even making your bed can kick them up.

Additionally, dishwashers kill so much bacteria, kids have a tough time building up immunity.


But remember, if your usual allergy medicine isn't working, it's definitely time to see the doctor.

"I guess the other takeaway here is when in doubt, go get that COVID test, right?" Layton asked.

"Absolutely. We're not finished with this," Lopez said.

And we won't be for a while.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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