Have a virus? It’s allergies, Dr. Mike says

Allergies are back with a vengeance as this year’s “extreme” pollen season is taunting many people who are experiencing first-time reactions, Dr. Mikhail Varshavski, known as Dr. Mike, said.

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“People who have never had allergies are coming into my office saying, ‘Doctor do you think I have a virus? Do you think I have a bacterial infection?’ when the reality is they are just having allergies for the first time in their lives,” Dr. Mike told FOX Business’ Dagen McDowell on “Mornings with Maria.”

While over-the-counter medicines are the first line of approach, realistically, they are “impossible” to escape, he said, but there are a number of things you can do to minimize your exposure and reduce the spread of pollen in your home.

If you’re indoors, Dr. Mike recommends keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning to keep cool. And if you go outdoors, make sure to plan your day when pollen counts are low.

“Pollen counts are generally high early in the mornings 8 to 10 am to noon,” he said, “so stay away from being outdoors early in the mornings.”

And don’t forget about our furry friends – not only can they suffer from allergies, but they can also contribute to your sensitivities.

“If they are going to be outside, make sure you wash your pets, because your pets will bring in a ton of pollen and they will roll around in your bed sheets and now you’re rolling around in pollen all night,” he said.

Nasal saline is another “simple and safe” option, he added.

“[It’s] the No. 1 thing that people like to poo-poo, but it’s actually a great remedy,” he said. “It’s ocean water. You’re literally rinsing your nasal passages out of mucus, allergens, bacteria even.”