BALTIMORE (WJZ) — According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from some sort of allergy each year.

The trees in bloom can be beautiful, but for an allergy sufferer, they can be a nightmare. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, each sniffle and sneeze brings a new level of concern.

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Spring has sprung, and with that comes allergy season.

“Pollen count is low right now but expected to increase by Monday,” Minoka McPherson, a nurse practitioner with CVS MinuteClinic, said.

But with this seasonal annoyance sharing several symptoms with COVID-19, some may start to worry when their throat starts to tickle.

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“There are some similarities between allergies and COVID-19 symptoms,” McPherson said. “For example, the coughing, sore throat.”

McPherson said there are typically some symptoms that only show with COVID patients.

“Something that stands out with COVID-19, patients will have fever, nausea, diarrhea or even loss of taste or smell,” McPherson said.

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She said one way to know for sure is to get a COVID test.

Sometimes a COVID-19 test might be recommended to confirm your diagnosis,” McPherson said.

If it turns out to be allergies, there’s also a test for that, to show you exactly what you may be allergic to.

“After your blood results are in, we’ll schedule a follow-up appointment for you to go over those results and come up with an individual treatment plan,” McPherson said.

A treatment plan that might include allergy medicine.

“We say mid-March if you suffer from allergies you should get a head start on taking those allergy medicines to block and limit those histamines that cause your symptoms,” McPherson said.

One way you can help minimize your allergy is to be aware of the pollen count. If it’s high, stay inside, use the AC and change the filter.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher