NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s the first day of fall, so it’s time to expect cool air, leaves changing color and, unfortunately, allergies.

It’s hay fever season, but if you’re a sufferer, you probably already know that.

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As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported Tuesday, this allergy season may last right into the winter, overlapping with COVID-19, colds and flu.


Hay fever is actually a misnomer. This time of year it’s ragweed that’s causing misery, and studies show that because of global warming ragweed season now starts earlier and lasts longer, right into indoor mold allergy season.

“I get sneezing and sometimes I get a sore throat,” Andrea Karshan said.

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Karshan knows she’s an allergy sufferer, but with the coronavirus still top of mind, she needed to know the difference.

“Allergies can be anywhere from runny eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, sneezing, coughing congestion, headaches. No fevers, no loss of smell, no loss of taste,” said Dr. Alexander Salerno of Salerno Medical Associates.

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But the fever, body aches and headaches associated with COVID-19 are also how the flu starts, so doctors are strongly advising flu shots to help prevent a “twindemic.”

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Allergists told Gomez the best time to start treatment is before you develop symptoms.

“People wait too long and they wait until they are very symptomatic and they start taking medicines, but you are kind of behind the 8-ball,” said Dr. Beth Corn of Mount Sinai Hospital.

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But it’s never too late since ragweed season lasts until the first hard frost. If over-the-counter remedies don’t help, see an allergist for prescription medications, or if you’re a frequent flyer with allergies, consider allergy shots.

Remember, allergies rarely cause a fever. That could be a bad cold, flu or COVID-19. Take one of those off the list with a flu shot and wear a mask. That helps prevent both coronavirus and the flu.

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