Minnesota allergist: 'Asthma Week' a perfect storm of allergens and viruses

Known as "Asthma Week", the third week in September brings a mix of allergens and viruses that asthma sufferers dread.

 “A virus infection themselves can trigger asthma,” said Dr. Pramod Kelkar, of Allina Health. “A regular virus infection, not necessarily COVID.”

Kelkar says September allergies can add to anxiety about COVID-19, but symptoms are very clearly different.

COVID-19 brings fever, aches and weakness. Those things are not present in allergies, especially the fever and aches. Runny nose is a typical allergy symptom not seen in COVID-19.

For those who fight asthma already made worse by pollen and bad air quality from the western wildfires, Kelkar says taking allergy medication regularly is the most important thing.

Asthma is not a risk factor for COVID-19, but can certainly amplify its misery.

“Important thing is, if you have asthma, and your asthma is not under good control and if you get COVID, then your symptoms can be worse,” Kelkar said.

Most allergy sufferers can tell the difference, but doctors worry that others cannot.

“I have allergy-induced asthma, too, so that does accompany a cough, so you are really careful when you’re out in public, just to clear your throat or anything, you want to look at everyone and say, ‘I’m OK. It’s just allergies.’”