Spring Has (Still) Sprung

Spring Has (Still) Sprung

Spring Has (Still) Sprung

Over 50 million Americans live with seasonal allergies. Most of them are prepared for the coughing, sneezing, nose-blowing days when everything starts to bloom in spring. Now they need to be prepared for the reaction of others around them.

In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone is more aware of people around them who show signs of being ill. While being around people who are coughing and sneezing used to be an annoyance pre-COVID, now it’s a reason for concern. Are they contagious? Do they have COVID-19?

If you have allergies, expect less concern for how you feel and more concern that you keep your distance.

Try not to take it personally. Here are some things to do:

  • Accept that the behavior is warranted. People have real fears about catching a serious virus, so they are hyperaware of anyone showing signs of sickness.
  • Be open to changing your behavior. Stay home. If your work requires you to be in the office, talk to your manager about how your allergy symptoms may be causing stress for your coworkers. It may be a good reason to have you work from home.
  • Wash your hands, throw away tissues, cough into your sleeve, disinfect. Even if it is just allergies, keeping yourself and your surroundings germ free will make you and others feel better.
  • You no longer can say “Oh, it’s just allergies” and expect others to be OK with your symptoms. Offer to wear a mask in close quarters. Try not to touch a lot of shared surfaces. Stand six to 10 away feet from others.

Here’s something else to remember: Even if you “just” have allergies, you can still get COVID-19. That means the safety measures recommended for everyone apply to you, too.

Stay alert to changes in your symptoms that seem different than those caused by allergies. If you get a fever or have trouble breathing, don’t wait to call your doctor.

Sources: COVID-19, Cold, Allergies and the Flu: What Are the Differences? leaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2023; Seasonal Allergies or COVID-19? How to Tell the Difference? leaving site icon Allergy & Asthma Network

Originally published 4/2/2020; Reviewed 2022, 2024