Here is the text of a broadcast we sent to patients about COVID-19 and allergies (encouraging them to get on their nasal steroid + antihistamine ASAP to minimize the number of people presenting with hay fever symptoms who will consume testing resources). Feel free to share it, and to use similar/same text in your own patient broadcasts.
“With the weather improving and more people getting outside (with strict physical distancing being absolutely critical to prevent COVID-19 spread), seasonal allergy symptoms are likely to increase. Runny nose, tickle in the throat, and malaise overlap between both seasonal allergies and COVID-19. It may be helpful to begin your usual hay fever regimen now in the season to help avoid confusion. If everyone with seasonal allergy symptoms needs a COVID-19 test to rule out COVID-19, our capacity to do testing on patients will quickly be depleted.
If you have a history of seasonal allergies in the spring/summer, please consider starting your usual regimen of nasal steroid spray AND/OR oral anithistamine now for prevention, and take daily through your typical affected season.
If you have run out of your prescription nasal steroid, please request a renewal from your physician in the manner they typically prefer (either contacting their office, or having the pharmacy send a request).
The antihistamines available over the counter are: Claritin, Reactine, Aerius, and Allegra. The generic versions of these are: Loratidine, Cetirizine, Desloratidine, Fexofenadine. The dosing is listed on the box for each. There is typically no difference between these options for most patients. Consider purchasing the generic versions, they are cheaper and just as effective.
If you typically receive a prescription for an antihistamine through our office, and you are out of your antihistamine, please request a renewal from your physician.
Here is a helpful link from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology to distinguish between COVID-19, allergy symptoms, influenza, and the common cold: https://www.aaaai.org/Aaaai/media/MediaLibrary/Images/Promos/Coronavirus-Symptoms.pdf
Please do not hesitate to share this message with family and friends who have seasonal allergies.”