Houstonians bracing for severe allergy season, experts weigh in on how to distinguish from COVID-19 symptoms

Allergy season is upon us and experts say this year could be one of the worst on record for Houstonians.

"The pollens have increased and come upon more quickly than we usually see in the springtime," said Dr. Alnoor Malick with Houston Allergy and Asthma Clinic.     


Doctors say people with allergies are dealing with more severe symptoms than usual, and one of the reasons this season is hitting people harder is because there’s just more pollen out there. 

"There’s always years when it does increase or seem to be a little higher than the year before. The more of a winter we get when spring starts it’s more of a surge, and we just came out of a cold front and so the pollens are going at it" Dr. Malick said. 


However, he says global warming may also be another factor that’s taking a toll on those suffering from allergies. 

"There is a notion that the seasons seem to be getting somewhat longer, and we do have, because of that stretched out season, more challenges with people suffering", he said. 


With COVID-19 still being transmitted within our communities, it could be difficult for some to tell their symptoms apart. 

"Fevers and aches are not a typical part of allergy symptoms. If cough was never a part of your allergy symptoms, and now you’re getting it, then suspect COVID," said Malick.

Porfirio Villarreal with the Houston Health Department also weighed in. 

"When you’re talking about seasonal allergies, you’re talking about maybe secretions that are clear, as opposed to COVID, where the nasal secretions are much thicker," said Villarreal.

He says, in any case, when in doubt, take a COVID-19 test.