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Answering your questions: Allergy season and asthma

Posted at 8:33 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 20:33:18-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — At 7 Eyewitness News we're committed to answering as many of your COVID-19 questions every day with the help of experts. Spring has officially sprung and as we head into April questions have been coming in asking about allergy season and those with asthma.

Q: "There has been information disseminated to help distinguish between colds/flu and the coronavirus, but what about those who have seasonal allergies? I am 72 yrs old with no pre-existing conditions but my allergy symptoms mimic coronavirus symptoms?
- Joan from Buffalo

A: "Those of you with allergies I’m sure are very tuned in to your very specific symptoms, so if you develop something that’s different than your allergy-like symptoms or if you develop fever, malaise or body aches…that can be a clue you’re developing a coronavirus infection," Dr. Thomas Russo, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said.

“Fever is really one of the most important signs to tell us something else is going on," Dr. Kathleen Donovan said. She is an allergist with Buffalo Amherst Allergy Associates.
She says allergy season in Buffalo won’t pick up typically until the first week of May.

“It doesn’t look necessarily like if you have asthma that this virus will exasperate your asthma as best we can tell," she said.

Dr. Donovan suggests those suffering from chronic or intermittent asthma to continue medications. For intermittent asthmatics, Dr. Donovan said, continue use of albuterol inhalers, but stay away from albuterol nebulizers since a virus can be spread into the air.

“Preventative therapy always seems to be best for both allergies and asthma, so starting your meds now ahead of time so you’re already on the meds when the season starts really inhibits people from having bad flares," she said.

You can send in your questions and we will try to get experts to answer them here.