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Allergies Or COVID-19? A Specialist Weighs In

Rachael McDonald

Allergy season can be particularly bad in our area because “The Grass Seed Capital of the World” is in Linn County. The broad, deep landscape of the southern Willamette Valley also retains pollen. How might the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having impact allergy season this year?



According to Dr. Jason Friesen from Oregon Allergy Associates, a cooler spring was anticipated, so allergy season was predicted to be delayed. However, he thinks the recently warm weather means allergy season is right on track. 

Typical allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, runny or itchy nose and itchy throat. Some people in our area may also experience asthma symptoms during grass season because of the high pollen counts.

Friesen said some cold and allergy symptoms can overlap, including COVID-19, but there is a way to tell the difference. 

“So, fever does not come with allergies and, generally speaking, itchiness does not come with upper respiratory infections,” said Friesen. “So, if you have a fever, I would not think first about having allergies. If you are itchy, I wouldn’t necessarily think first about having an upper respiratory infection or COVID or something like that.”

He also says to seek professional help if typical, over-the-counter medicine isn’t helping your allergies.


Aubrey Bulkeley co-created FLUX podcast, a three-part series to accompany award-winning UO School of Journalism and Communication publication, FLUX Magazine. Bulkeley finished her Master's degree in Journalism at the University of Oregon in 2019.
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