First of all, if you have to ask yourself that question, please don’t go running around like it’s 2019, coughing and sneezing freely on all passersby. Even before an ongoing global pandemic that killed millions of people, that’s gross and rude. Wear a mask. If you won’t (or if you’re one of those people who pulls it down to sneeze), then use tissues or a hanky, and if you have none of those, hold a Dracula pose facing into your elbow until the ejecting of spit and snot is over.
Here in Dallas, the WebMD app has been blowing up my phone daily. If it’s not trees, it’s grass, mold, or dust. I’m starting to see cottonwood floofs, and even if you’re not usually sensitive to pollen, the floofs that help the seeds fly do break off in the air and are an inhalable irritant. It’s just that time of year. All the information in my last allergies post is still valid. Running a HEPA filter in the bedroom is also a good idea. I’ve started using a neti pot when I get home and am inside for the day. I used to do it in the shower for ideal water temperature, but 1) horrifying mold accumulations can happen when you store your neti pot in a damp warm environment 2) I’m just not that confident about tap water sloshing around my head. On the bright side, allergy season means it’s warm enough that room temperature distilled water isn’t painfully cold to run through my sinuses.
The CDC tweeted out a graphic to try to help answer our title question. However, anecdotally, some folks who tested positive for coronavirus never had fevers. And in situations of major congestion, your nose being impaired will affect your sense of taste. So please at least take a rapid test if you’re not sure it’s just allergies. A friend of mine inadvertently passed COVID to friends when they tested negative before a gathering, spiked a fever and tested positive the day after, so ideally, test 2 days in a row before baring your breath if you haven’t been feeling well. You can get 8 free at home rapid tests per household via the USPS, and if you have health insurance, they pay for 8 per month at participating pharmacies. CVS has been a little squirrely about this for me (you can still file paperwork with receipts and get a check in the mail from insurance), but Walgreens gets me in and out in like 10 minutes, for nothing out of pocket. When else is the insurance that you pay so much money for every month going to give you over $100 per month, no questions asked?
It’s not 2020. Hospitals don’t need morgue trucks, and plenty of infections have passed uneventfully, but we’re still dealing with a very contagious virus with lingering effects, and it’s a pain in the ass when the whole world is sick at the same time. (4 months ago, remember that?) If you’re vaccinated, you can still get it and spread it. That’s not the point; the point is you probably won’t die if you get it and you’re vaccinated, and you’ll probably have less viral load to spread. So if you’re not and you can, get vaccinated and get all the boosters you’re eligible for.
That was a lot on COVID. That or allergies? Short answer, take a test, wash your bedding, and wash yourself (and your dog, and whoever else is going to get on or in your bed) before you go to bed so you don’t marinate in pollen all night. And I do still treat for allergies, but please do endeavor not to bring the plague into my treatment room!