HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A new study links allergy sufferers with an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
News 3 This Morning anchor Blaine Stewart spoke with News 3 medical expert Dr. Ryan Light about the risk and the symptoms to look out for.
"When we look at the study, it shows that we already knew that allergies increase the risk of getting respiratory infections," Light explained.
"Now, we see that some studies are coming out that show higher pollen counts, and higher risk of allergies make you more susceptible to the possibility of getting these respiratory infections, COVID being one of those," he added.
How can you tell if your symptoms are related to seasonal allergies or the coronavirus?
"When we look at allergies, we don't have fevers with allergies, so that's probably one of the big ones. We don't get body aches with allergies as well," Light said.
Those symptoms would be more aligned with COVID-19, according to Light. Conversely, there are other symptoms that are more specific to pollen allergies.
"We don't see watery eyes or a real runny nose, a lot of times, with COVID. When I see COVID, we see headaches, body aches, you know, the sort of dry cough," he added.
Light adds it's also important to know your body.
"If you get watery eyes and it happens at the same time, every year, most likely it's your allergies, but if you have a fever, it's probably more likely COVID."
Finally, Light suggests wearing a mask when you're outside can help cut down your exposure to pollen, in addition to the protection it offers against the spread of COVID-19.