General Health

New Orleans Spring allergies or Coronavirus: How to tell the difference

Kenneth Paris, MD
New Orleans Spring allergies or Coronavirus: How to tell the difference

Spring is in the air in New Orleans, and with that so are seasonal allergies that affect both kids and adults. While spending afternoons outdoors, especially under our state’s majestic Live Oaks, the pollen falling triggers allergies for many of us.

Seasonal allergies can present in a multitude of ways, including sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, or even headaches. Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint what is causing certain symptoms. Today, even when we have the slightest tickle in our throat, one question comes to mind: “Could I have COVID-19?” Now more than ever, sorting through symptoms can be even more confusing and stressful, especially during allergy season.

We’re here to help you recognize whether the symptoms you or your child is experiencing is related to COVID-19, or if they’re indicative of seasonal allergies.

Surviving your spring allergies

Unlike coronavirus, symptoms for seasonal allergies do not include body aches, muscle pain, or fever.

  • Onset of allergies: Symptoms come and go with the seasons. When your house or car are covered in pollen, do your symptoms begin? Those are allergies!
  • Duration of allergies: Allergies can last several weeks as pollen falls from the trees and is spread by wind.
  • Allergy symptoms: You may have a runny or stuffy nose; sneezing; coughing; itchy eyes, nose, mouth, and throat; headaches; watery eyes; pressure in the nose and cheeks; and difficulty smelling.
  • Care tips: The best way to cope is by avoiding the allergens that trigger your symptoms. If needed, you can purchase over-the-counter nasal sprays and other allergy medicines so you can keep enjoying the Spring weather.

Coping with coronavirus

Suspecting you have COVID-19 can be scary. And while there is cause for concern, remember that most cases are mild, especially in children, and do not require any special treatment.

  • Onset of COVID-19: Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
  • Duration of COVID-19: COVID-19 symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a week (for most people).
  • COVID-19 symptoms: You may experience coughing, fever, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.
  • Care tips: Contact your provider right away if you think you were exposed to the coronavirus. For those with mild symptoms, stay home in a room or area away from other people. Rest and drink a lot of fluids. See if over the counter medicines like acetaminophen help you feel better.

We hope you have a happy, healthy spring season enjoying the great outdoors! If you are concerned about your symptoms and schedule a Virtual Care appointment with a Children’s Hospital New Orleans pediatric expert!

Dr. Kenneth Paris
Pediatric Allergy/Immunology

Dr. Kenneth Paris specializes in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology at Children’s Hospital. He received his medical degree from LSU Health New Orleans, then his residency training at Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine and Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. He then completed a fellowship in Allergy/Immunology at LSU Health New Orleans. With more than 11 years of experience, Dr. Paris is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology. He also serves on the faculty at LSU Health New Orleans as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Immunology.

When asked why he continues to practice medicine, Dr. Paris said, “It allows me to train the next generation of physicians while I treat patients and develop relationships with their families. I know that teaching patients and parents about their illnesses can lead to improved overall health and quality of life. Many of our patients have allergic disorders and I particularly enjoy working with families who have children with food allergies. Food allergies can affect people of all ages and my responsibility for helping children and families with this potentially life-threatening disease is something I believe in. I am also proud to lead our clinical team in caring for patients with various types of primary immunodeficiency.

Our Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic Center is one of a few centers in the United States that specialize in the diagnosis and management of these rare diseases. Staying at the forefront of research and education about these diseases is a commitment our team makes to all of our patients and their families.”