Allergies or the Flu? Inversions clog Grand Valley

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- As we huddle inside, our indoor winter allergies become more of a problem. It can be confusing, is it a cold or allergies? Here are some answers.

Even though it's winter, allergies aren’t hibernating.

"We are cooped up in our homes this time of year with pet dander, feather, dust mite. Occasionally, indoor molds,” said Dr. David Scott, Allergy Specialist, Allergy & Asthma Center of Western Colorado.

Forced air heating circulates dry dust and pet hair around our homes.

"It's particularly dry inside of people's homes, because we have been running our heat all winter long and that brings the humidity down to about zero percent and so people's mucous gets stuck up there and they tend to get some symptoms from that,” said Dr. Scott.

Our recent inversions are adding to the problem.

"So folks definitely notice respiratory symptoms when we get those inversions and particulate matter from vehicle exhausts,” said Dr. Scott.

It’s not just allergens you may be suffering from.

"Half of our hospitalizations so far have been in people under the age of 55,” said Heidi Dragoo, epidemiologist program manager, Mesa County Public Health.

The flu is also flying around. In Mesa County, 25 confirmed cases.

"Those numbers compared to last year are quite a bit less. I think one of the reasons is we are seeing a different strain of flu circulating this year so predominately it's an H1N1 year last flu season was a H3N2 year,” said Dragoo.

So know the signs and symptoms.

"With flu, it's a very abrupt onset. You feel like you've been hit by a bus. You’re going to see a fever, you will often see a fever and a cough,” said Dragoo.

"Folks with allergies should be itching their eyes, their nose, they should be sneezing quite a bit,” said Dr. Scott.

Mesa County Public Health says it’s not too late to get your flu shot. They serve patients regardless of ability to pay. Give them a call at 970-248-6900.

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