Allergies and coronavirus: what you need to do now to protect your lungs

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At the same time, a deadly disease terrorizes the world, the allergy season begins or is in full swing in many parts of the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Experts say allergies can impact your respiratory system and make it more fragile, which can potentially make it easier to detect the new coronavirus or make symptoms of Covid-19 worse after you’ve done it.

“When you have allergies, there is inflammation,” said Dr. Lakiea Wright, who specializes in allergies and immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“You inhale your allergen, say pollen, through your nose. And that’s why you have itchy nose, a runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes, “she said. “It creates a lot of inflammation that can weaken your body’s barriers, and it could be easier for viruses to enter. “

“Anything we can do to reduce mucus and reduce inflammation will help your body cope better with another event, such as a viral disease, which would also cause inflammation,” said pediatrician Dr. Matt Dougherty, who treats children with allergies and asthma at Esse Health in St. Louis, Missouri.

Take action before your symptoms appear

If you usually suffer from spring bloom, experts say you need to take precautions now to keep your lungs as healthy as possible.

“If you have a history of allergies, be sure to start your medication that has controlled these symptoms in the past,” said Dougherty.

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“Take these drugs now and reduce these symptoms as much as possible, to reduce inflammation and mucus production,” he added.

Wright agrees, “Start taking your medications, like antihistamines and nasal steroids, early, before the season, to help control these symptoms. This will help you be at a better baseline. “

“Know your allergy triggers and try to minimize your exposure to your triggers,” said Wright. It should be “in addition to practicing good hygiene, washing your hands and keeping society out, because we want to make sure that we also minimize our exposure to viruses.”

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Although the three most common signs of coronavirus are cough, shortness of breath, and fever, people have reported everything from severe body aches that could look like pink-eyed flu and tiredness that can signify a reaction. allergic.

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What if you’re not sure if your symptoms are allergies? Or even worse, what if your symptoms are like allergies but you have never had a reaction to pollen in the past?

Research has shown that it is actually common for allergies to appear suddenly later in life, possibly due to chronically elevated levels of air pollution that leave our lungs in a constant state of inflammation. As we age, the function of our immune system also decreases, which makes us more vulnerable.

Right now, of course, we are being asked to say home and contact our doctors by phone or telehealth. You can get the most out of this consultation if you prepare ahead of time, say the experts, by recording all of your symptoms for a few days before your virtual tour.

This information will help your doctor decide if your symptoms may warrant an allergy test or diagnosis of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

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“Fever is not a typical symptom of an environmental allergy,” she said. “Aches and sore throats are not common allergy symptoms. So do something like taking your temperature several times a day and recording that with other symptoms. Then when you talk to your doctors, you would have that kind of objective evidence. “

You can ask other questions and prepare the answers for your doctor:

  • Are these my classic allergy symptoms?
  • Do I experience these symptoms at about the same time each year?
  • Do I take my allergy medications regularly?
  • Are they working to prevent or reduce my symptoms?

Of course, some allergic reactions, such as a cough due to a post-nasal drip, can be a sign of colds, flu, and coronavirus.

“With cold symptoms, you would typically have these seven to ten days,” said Wright. “With an allergy, symptoms can last all season. “

But Wright says people shouldn’t be obsessed with their symptoms to the point of anxiety.

“I don’t want them to document the symptoms in such a way that it will cause a lot of anxiety,” she said. “I have allergies myself, so I can really sympathize and sympathize with my patients. Every time I sneeze, I think to myself, “Oh my God, is that something more? “

“But I have to be very objective and ask” Do I have a sore throat? Do i have a fever I take my temperature to describe exactly what’s going on because it can be very confusing. ”

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