It is getting cooler outside, but ragweed levels are still high, COVID cases are on the rise, and you are vigilant for the seasonal flu. You wake up on Monday morning and feel fatigued, have nasal congestion, and a sore throat. Is it COVID-19? The flu? Or is it just allergies? Given the deadly nature of COVID-19 (over 200,000 deaths in US), you as a patient need to make sure you have a plan.
First, make sure you have a primary care doctor you can trust. It is important to have someone you can trust, who knows your medical history, can see you promptly and advise you correctly.
Second, it is important to confirm that you are up to date on necessary immunizations, such as the seasonal influenza vaccine. Some of you may require a “pneumonia” vaccine, if you have asthma, diabetes or a past history of pneumonia.
Lastly, if you do have a history of allergies, it might be a good idea to start taking your nasal steroid and your antihistamine (such as Flonase or Claritin) before the start of your seasonal symptoms, in order to control inflammation and prevent symptoms from escalating.
While COVID-19 and allergies can both cause many of the same symptoms, allergies do not cause fever, so having a working thermometer and knowing your temperature is also a very helpful metric, especially when communicating with your primary care doctor.
The bottom line is to take your symptoms seriously and share them with a primary care physician you can trust. We at Lifetime Internal Medicine are serious about our commitment to our patients.