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Pollen or Covid?

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Pollen or Covid?

Although we could not wait for Spring to arrive, to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather after being cooped up for a year, many of us were dreading this pollen season.  Growing up in Detroit I was never affected by pollen, but these days I watch the pollen count like I watch the weather.   Millions of allergy sufferers feel my pain. But this season was different for me. I was diagnosed with being Covid-19 positive.  

When I went live to tell people that I was Covid-19 positive, many stated, but you look so good, high energy, no body aches, no chills, cough, fever, or any breathing issues. How did you get so lucky? Well first getting Covid isn’t lucky at all, however, I am truly blessed that I do not have any of the severe symptoms that could lead me to a hospital stay or clinging to my bedsheets in discomfort. I also say I am not lucky because with all my precautions I took I still caught it and didn’t know I was positive because my symptoms are exactly what I feel every year during allergy season.  

As a gym owner, I have taken countless rapid tests to make sure my clients, friends, and family are safe around me. I do daily temperature checks at the gym; everyone, including me, must wash their hands upon entering and have on a mask of course. We do high/low cleaning every day along with hospital-grade disinfectants all over the gym.  

On April 20th I took a covid test because I was traveling and when I returned, boot camp was starting and our outdoor days had me outside more than usual, sometimes 3 times a day. I started to develop allergy symptoms towards the end of last week. I took Sudafed first because that usually knocks my allergy symptoms right out. I then took Flonase and Benadryl. When those didn’t help, I started to think maybe I have a cold as well and began my wellness routine. I took Nyquil/Dayquil, drank hot toddies, and steamed, yet nothing seemed to stop my sinus pressure, nagging headache, stuffy nose, or slight dizziness on occasion. I didn’t think anything about being covid positive because I had just had a negative test and received my first vaccination shot. But something was different about this allergy season. So, on May 3rd I took another rapid test which was negative. The tester also suggested I do the PCR swab test as well. They explained that it is the most effective and accurate test to see if one is covid positive. The test was sent to the lab and I was told it would take up to 3-5 days to get the results. In the meantime, I was examined by a Physician Assistant, my vital signs were perfect, lungs clear, no irritation or redness to my throat or ears. She suggested that I continue with the over-the-counter meds and resume my life as usual.  

Within 24 hours I received my PCR results stating I am Covid positive. I told my team first, set up a plan, did more deep cleaning at the gym and I went live to be transparent to all my clients, friends, and family that I have been around. Many people felt just like me and one person that saw my live on social media went to get a PCR test and sure enough she was positive as well. She thanked me because she said she also thought it was just her allergies.  

 

Although I don’t have the major symptoms, I am taking this very seriously as is my Team Tadda. I am quarantining until my symptoms subside and the doctors give me the okay to come back. I urge you to take the PCR test because many of the rapid tests are showing false negatives.  

Here are 5 things that you can do that will help you get through allergy/Covid season whenever it occurs for you. 

Keep Hands Clean---Pollen is sticky stuff.  Hand washing is so basic yet so effective. Since these tiny granules stick to most things, it makes sense that your hands are likely to have pollen on them too. Rubbing your eyes, wiping your face with your hands, and rubbing your nose can all cause you to inhale these allergens and take them indoors with you. 

Just looking at my car makes me want to sneeze.  There is no way to avoid opening the door without touching the handle and getting pollen on my hands.  So, I keep hand wipes in my car to prevent the spreading of pollen to my steering wheel, cell phone or my face and hair as we tend to touch these often when in the car.   

Say Yes to The Right Treatment----Proper diagnosis of the allergen is really important because this knowledge will allow you to be prepared. Pharmacists are invaluable resources for recommending effective over-the-counter medications which can provide the relief that will allow you to continue to enjoy your life during peak season. 

More serious symptoms should be treated by an allergist. There are drugs that they can prescribe that can curb acute symptoms and make the body less sensitive to the allergen overall. Go on the offensive and take medication in anticipation of the symptoms in hopes that this will minimize their severity. 

Get a PCR test along with your rapid test. 

Bathe Pets---If you love a warm-blooded pet who shares your home with you, it's a good idea to bathe them on a regular basis particularly if they come and go from the outside. Their coats provide almost unlimited places for pollen to hitch a ride into your home. Think about the number of granules that can be released into the air with one or 2 good shakes from your puppy dog or kitten. Add to that a wipe against a favorite sofa or chair and it's the beginning of a battle that's hard to win. 

Make Your Bedroom A Haven---Do this by keeping as many allergens as possible out of this room. Isolate clothes worn outside by leaving them in the laundry room or shoes at the front door. 

It is also a good idea to shower before going into the bedroom. Skin and hair are also favorite places for pollen to accumulate. The sooner you bathe the less chance there is of sending this allergen into indoor air. 

Use HEPA Filtration To Clear The Air---Even with all the precautions that you can possibly take, pollen will get indoors. The most effective way to keep the air quality high is by drastically reducing airborne allergens, including but not limited to pollen, by continually removing them with HEPA filtration. 

HEPA is an abbreviation formed by taking the first letter of the words high-efficiency particle arresting. As this filter's name suggests, it is incredibly efficient at removing airborne particles. It must be able to remove 99.97% of airborne particulates that are.3 microns or larger, to be considered a HEPA quality filter. 

Using as many of these 5 strategies in conjunction with each other will go a long way towards getting you through allergy/Covid season with less disruption and your sense of humor intact. Have a No Mess Pollen/Covid Season!


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