PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Is it allergies or coronavirus?

“Fever is extremely unlikely in allergy. Early on in the disease, it’s hard to tell whether it’s allergies or coronavirus,” says Allergy and Clinical Immunology Associates allergist Dr. James DeAngelo.

Because of this, people with allergies should err on the side of caution.

“When they’re going out into public, extra precautions, such as a mask. Something that if they have an uncontrollable cough or sneeze, it will stop them from spreading viral particles,” DeAngelo said.

Some people have a worsening of asthma symptoms during allergy season. This is a challenge because doctors aren’t doing breathing tests in their offices because of respiratory droplets risk.

DeAngelo finds that alternative ways to see patients can provide much-needed information.

“On telemedicine yesterday, I had this patient who I suspected was at risk for COVID, taking gasps and she talked, every 3 to 4 words. So that’s a little sign that that person may need to be tested,” DeAngelo said.

Because it’s hard to tell allergies and coronavirus apart, this allergist has his waiting room chairs six feet apart.

“There’s a tremendous drop off inpatient wanting to come in for allergy shots. They are afraid. One of the options we had thought about was having injections in the parking lot,” DeAngelo said.

With high tree pollen in the air, he worries people with silent COVID-19 will unknowingly spread the virus because of their allergy symptoms.

“I’ve been managing it a little bit more aggressively than I would have normally. I expect it to get much, much worse in the next month,” DeAngelo said

Dr. Maria Simbra