▶️ Sniffles? Watery eyes? Allergy season makes an early appearance on High Desert

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

With a rising number of cases across the Pacific Northwest, fears of the coronoavirus have some people experiencing similar symptoms worried.

If you’ve found yourself with a runny nose, dry or watery eyes and itchy skin over the past few days, you’re not alone.

But doctors say those symptoms are far more likely to be from a very different and common Central Oregon culprit than COVID-19.

“I think chances are at this stage of the coronavirus epidemic it’s pretty safe that more than likely either allergies or could be a cold caused by any number of other viruses,” said Dr. Adam Williams, an allergist with Summit Medical Group Oregon. “I think people who have seasonal times every year around the same time kind of more likely to be allergy. As the symptoms progress for weeks or maybe months, that’s more likely to be allergies where as a cold will start to improve between five maybe seven days at the most.” 

Williams added that a fever is more likely a sign of a viral infection rather than allergies, where your symptoms could range from sneezing, nasal congestion and even shortness of breath for those who may suffer from asthma.

If you’re thinking it’s a bit earlier than usual to be experiencing allergy symptoms, you’re right.

“We normally have a Juniper pollen season starting not til end of March but this year with the mild winter I really have started to notice people are starting to suffer about a month or even six weeks earlier than normal.”

The nice weather, while great for outdoor enthusiasts, has triggered an early Juniper bloom that Williams says usually doesn’t take place until the end of March.

Luckily, there is hope for us allergy sufferers.

Williams recommends not going outside on days when pollen counts are high, and taking care of yourself once you are inside by taking medications such as antihistamines and nasal sprays.

“People will often use saline rinsing with a rinse bottle or a neti pot to kind of wash away any pollen and inflammation that started to develop in the nose,” he said. “Antihistamines, nasal sprays can really make a huge different if you start using them early in the season and not wait until things are really, really bad.”

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