Spring weather means more than just a long-awaited hint of warmth in the Chicago area. For many, it also marks the start of seasonal allergies.
But as allergy season collides with a global coronavirus pandemic, worry and confusion join the list of symptoms brought on by pollen.
For millions of seasonal allergy sufferers, the annual onset of watery eyes and scratchy throats is bumping up against the spread of a new virus that produces its own constellation of respiratory symptoms. Forecasters are predicting a brutal spring allergy season for swaths of the U.S. at the same time that COVID-19 cases are rising dramatically.
That's leading many to question: are these just allergies or could they be something more?
Everyone is sort of analyzing every sneeze and cough right now, said Kathy Przywara, who manages an online community of allergy sufferers for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In Illinois, where more than 12,200 cases have been reported in over 70 counties, spring allergies were top of mind for many Tuesday as temperatures in the Chicago area rose to levels not seen in 189 days