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Nurse’s Corner

Covid-19 & Spring Allergy Season

For many right now, as if Covid-19 weren't enough to worry about, spring allergies and asthma now have to be managed as well as the wheezing and sneezing that goes along with them. Let me first say that I do hope that you and your children are staying home safe and sound and healthy with loved ones and continuing to do all you can to be well. Although this is a very challenging and anxiety provoking time, we will all get through this together one day at a time. Let me remind you that you can contact the Sussex County Covid-19 Hotline Monday-Friday from 9am-4pm at 973-579-9488 to speak with a Sussex County Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) volunteer such as myself, or a Sussex County Division of Health (SCDOH) staff member any time you have any questions. I can also be reached at jaquino@newtonnj.org as I am checking my emails daily.

It is important to now the differences between spring allergies and asthma compared to the sympoms of the coronavirus (Covid-19). Throughout the US, pollen has started to bloom which causes typical symptoms in those with allergies at the same time we have seen the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Allergies typically cause nasal symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus congestion but do not usually result in a fever, as is found with coronavirus or the flu. While some symptoms of the coronavirus overlap with allergies, there are several differences.

Symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19):

According to the CDC, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases. Coronavirus is spread through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. We recommend following the CDC guidelines and those of your local health department to prevent the spread of the virus.

The following symptoms of Covid-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

~Fever

~Cough

~Shortness of breath

Symptoms Of Seasonal Allergies:

Symptoms of seasonal allergies range from mild to severe and occur seasonally. They are caused by a response in the immune system and are not contagious. Medications can treat symptoms.

MOST COMMON:

~sneezing

~runny or stuffy nose

~watery and itchy eyes

~itchy sinuses, throat, or ear canals

~ear congestion

~postnasal drainage


LEAST COMMON:

~headache

~shortness of breath

~wheezing

~coughing

 

SERIOUS ALLERGIC REACTION SYMTPOMS

~skin rash/hives

~throat closing/difficulty breathing/chest tightness

~drop in blood pressure

~diarrhea

~Anaphylaxis: a medical emergency

 


Asthma Symptoms/Why Asthma occurs:

Asthma occurs when airways become blocked temporarily or narrowed by exposure to an allergen. Irritants, strenuous exercise, anxiety, or other triggers can precipitate this. If an asthma attack is severe, a person may need emergency medical treatment. Viral infections like the flu and milder coronaviruses can trigger asthma episodes, so it’s important to manage these conditions and do all you can to protect your family from COVID-19.

ASTHMA SYMPTOMS:

~sudden shortness of breath

~difficulty breathing

~chest tightness

~wheezing/coughing

 

HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND: 

~The most important thing you can do is make sure your child’s asthma is well controlled. None of the asthma medications, including inhaled corticosteroids and biologics, have been shown to increase the risk of getting COVID-19; none of them have been shown to interfere with COVID-19 treatments.

~If you think there’s a chance that your child has COVID-19, have your child take asthma medications with an inhaler instead of a nebulizer. Nebulization could increase the release of viral particles from an infected person into the air. If a nebulizer must be used, choose a location that minimizes exposure to members of your household who aren’t infected, like a porch or patio, or in a garage.

~To date, most cases of COVID-19 in children are mild. Symptoms include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Contact The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology if you have questions about the differences in symptoms of COVID-19, allergies, colds, and the flu.Coronavirus typically causes a fever while allergies do not. Allergies also bring itchiness, nasal congestion, and sneezing – symptoms that are less common in COVID-19.

~Contact your child’s allergist if you have any questions, if your child is having trouble breathing, or their asthma symptoms are becoming more severe.

 

REMEMBER: it is imperative to prevent and recognize the Signs & Symptoms of allergies and asthma, as well as get treatment for them.

                                                                      Continue to stay well, safe, and healthy!

                                                                           Jill D. Aquino, RN, CSN, MSN

                                                                         School Nurse, Newton High School

 

The following documents are for your use. 

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