BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As spring kicks into full gear in Maryland, trees are blooming and releasing lots of pollen into the air, causing discomfort for those with springtime allergies, like Imani Kirk’s boyfriend.

“The nose is stopped up, it’s running, his throat, it’s just bad,” Kirk said.

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She said his grandmother was concerned it might be something besides seasonal allergies.

“She was like, ‘Oh my goodness, are you sure it’s not corona? Like are you positive?'” Kirk said.

Briana Norwood wasn’t taking any chances when she started sneezing recently.

“When I was experiencing my symptoms pretty bad, I just quarantined because I wasn’t sure what was going on,” she said.

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Owings Mills-based allergist Dr. Jonathan Matz said some symptoms can be similar, like congestion and coughing, but having a history of allergies or itching could be a sign it’s not COVID-19.

“If you do get the itching and sneezing, you can feel and you’ve had allergies before, you can feel pretty confident that they’re allergies,” Dr. Matz said.

He said if you’re not sure or haven’t had seasonal allergies before, you should first take your temperature, because a fever is not a symptom of allergies. He also recommends getting a COVID-19 test.

“I’m telling people if you get cold symptoms, it’s COVID until proven otherwise,” Dr. Matz said.

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He added masks can actually help with seasonal allergies, so keep those on if you are struggling with all the pollen in the air right now.

Stetson Miller