What’s going around? Common symptoms you may be feeling right now

Feeling sick and stuffy lately? Here's what may be causing it

SPRING ALLERGIES

Itching, sneezing, congestion symptoms might be a result of high pollen from spring flowers.

Ideally, you want to start allergy prevention like Claritin, Zyrtec, or a routine nasal spray two weeks before exposure.

Most allergists would tell you that a saline spray is helpful too.

“It’s very mechanical and a neti pot or any kind of nasal saline wash will help clean out the nose and allow the medicines to get there better,” said Dr. Eric Sandberg, an allergist at Kelsey-Seybold. “We encourage people to use nasal saline in any form, a neti pot is excellent, or even with compressed air nasal, saline sprays, those are easily available and not expensive. Those can be effective so I would say those would be very good.”

COVID

Local COVID cases went up this week. They’re still low in comparison to earlier this year, but Dr. Lisa Ehrlich said it’s worth taking a COVID test even if you’re pretty sure your symptoms are spring allergies.

“Those folks usually know their typical allergies, I think maybe this year though, and maybe for future years as COVID kind of stays with us, it does make sense if there’s an acute change (because the omicron strain of COVID is actually more of a head cold, that there can be overlapping symptoms) then it’s probably a good idea to just go ahead and do a self-test to make sure you don’t have COVID, even if you’re pretty used to having allergies,” said Dr. Lisa Ehrlich, an internal medicine doctor with Harris County Medical Society.

FLU

If you feel sick with body aches, sore throat, fever, stuffy head, it could be the flu. Flu cases are on the rise.

Typically, flu peaks in February, so this is considered late in the season.

Dr. Charlene Flash, the infectious disease doctor with Avenue 360, said the virus still hasn’t peaked since cases are still on the rise.

“You know, we had this horrendous COVID outbreak earlier in the year in our region and people were getting vaccinated for COVID and masking and social distancing and doing all these precautions, and as COVID has started to wane, and we’ve been able to thankfully release some of the restrictions, unfortunately, an outcome of that is that the restrictions that were protecting people from COVID were also protecting people from the flu,” Dr. Flash explained.

RHINOVIRUS

If there’s no fever, the third most common virus circulating is the rhinovirus.

“The kiddos get this a lot and it’s a regular head cold as well, it makes people pretty miserable,” said Dr. Ehrlich. “It lasts usually more than a few days so people are pretty miserable with rhinovirus. We’re seeing a ton of it and we really haven’t seen that much of it because I think people weren’t going places sick.”

That’s her biggest plea -- if there’s any COVID precaution we take with us the rest of our lives, she says it should be not going places when you’re sick.