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COVID-19 or allergies? Here's what to look for, and why your allergies may be worse this year.

Posted at 5:47 PM, May 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 10:07:29-04

BOISE, Idaho — For almost four weeks, the Boise Valley Asthma and Allergy Clinic's pollen count has been in the "high" or "extreme" category.

"We tend to get a real spike in the tree pollen around this time of the year kind of April into May. We’re also starting to have a little bit of grass pollen at the same time... it really hits people," said Dr. Michael Keiley.

BVAAC Allergy Repor May 13, 202`1- May 21, 2021

In order to track the various types of pollen and its levels, BVAAC prepares a small rod for collection. A mixing technician will prepare the rod with a lubricant to attract pollen, attach it to a machine located on their rooftop. Throughout the day, the rod will spin for one minute every 10 minutes collecting samples. The following morning the rod is retrieved and examined under a microscope by a physician.

If you've been feeling symptomatic with allergy-like symptoms, Keiley said one of the hallmarks for allergies often not associated with the common cold, flu, or COVID is itchiness. Irritation and/or itchiness in the nose, ears, or throat can indicate seasonal allergies and you're encouraged to seek medical treatment if over-the-counter medicines offer no relief.

The clinic tracks pollen Tuesday through Friday. On those days at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., you can catch Scott Dorval's allergy report with the latest numbers.