CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Fall season means it’s that time of the year when people aren’t sure if they should reach for the Covid-19 test or allergy medicine.

A local allergist explains what symptoms and signs to look for.

“In terms of the symptoms there’s a fair amount of overlap but they’re not all identical so allergies classically get people with a stuffy, runny nose, some sneeze and itch, and maybe some eye involvement. Whereas if you get Covid-19 or another virus you can get some of those symptoms but usually you’re much more likely to also have a fever and some of the muscle aches,” said Jeff Wilson, assistant professor at UVA in medicine allergy immunology. 

He says if you aren’t sure, it’s best to test. 

Blue Ridge Health District reminds everyone tests are available for free.

“Just like we’ve seen in the past there is a program available for free in-home tests for Covid-19. So you just head to the website put in your address and they’ll be mailed directly to your house free of charge,” said Jason Elliott, communications manager for Blue Ridge Health District.

Dr. William Petri says if your allergy symptoms worsen it could be time to be seen by a doctor.

“A lot of people, you know, like me have these sports watches. They tell you your SPO2 or your pulse oxygen. It should be in the mid-'90s and if it falls below that then that is definitely a reason to be seen,” he says.

For those who know they get allergies every fall, Wilson says just be prepared for when you get symptoms.

“If you’re not somebody who always needs to be on an antihistamine you could probably wait until you start to get into the season,” said Wilson.

Both experts say to be prepared to go ahead and get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

“Right now, the Blue Ridge Health District has not received our shipment of Covid-19 vaccines but there are vaccines available throughout the district at pharmacies and primary care providers,” said Elliott.

“I got mine at the drug store just a week ago Monday and so you can go onto most of the drug stores online and schedule. They can give you the flu vaccine at the same time and if you’re my age like being 60 and older you can also get the new RSV vaccine,” said Petri.

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