Though the pandemic is on all our minds as we look toward summer, we must not forget that it’s still spring outside, and with this season comes a whole host of allergies for millions of people. Pollen grains released by grass, trees and other flora are most often the source of the allergic reaction. They’re so small that they can travel by wind, which is unfortunately easy for us to ingest.
It may be tough to distinguish seasonal allergies from common colds or even the virus, but there are differences in symptoms, and in this post we’ll help you identify them. We’ll also provide resources for allergy testing services and discuss ways to prevent reactions if you are indeed affected by spring allergies.
Identifying Spring Allergy Symptoms and Seeking Treatment
Though there are some symptoms that could apply to both a cold and an allergy, such as sneezing and congestion, there are symptoms that can help you tell them apart.
For example, the following symptoms are all signs of spring allergies, but not of colds:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Stuffy nose, accompanied by itching
- Sore throat that comes and goes vs. arrives and potentially worsens
- Redness and swelling around the eyes
Alternately, these symptoms are all signs of colds, but not allergies:
- Body aches
- Thick or green mucus when sneezing
There are also clues to be found in the duration of symptoms — the issues that linger longer are more likely to be caused by colds than allergies.
If you’re still unsure whether you’re having a reaction to allergens or you’ve simply caught a cold, there are tried-and-true ways to learn about your body and it’s allergy triggers.
At Western Washington Medical Group, our Allergy Clinic can help with comprehensive allergy testing and treatment plans. The procedure for diagnosis is a simple two-step process that covers 32 allergens specific to our region. A brief skin prick and a small injection is all it takes to get definitive results, which will enable the doctor to formulate the best treatment plan possible for you.
Call the number on this page to make an appointment today. You may also complete the form on the Ear, Nose, Throat/Allergy Audiology page to request an appointment, or for more general health inquiries, fill out the form on this page.
How to Prevent Reactions to Common Allergens
The most effective way to prevent any allergic reactions from happening is to avoid what are called “allergy triggers.” This can be done in a number of ways, from limiting outdoor activities to keeping windows and doors shut tight during the height of the spring season. It’s also helpful to check local weather reports to see how high the pollen count is, and if you do have to spend time outdoors, wash your clothing immediately upon return to lessen the exposure.
Of course, if your work or activities take you outside, there are non-drowsy allergy medications you can buy over the counter that may ease or eliminate symptoms if your reactions are mild. You may also benefit from a saline nose spray that can decrease swelling and wash away pollens you’ve already inhaled.
If your symptoms are severe, your doctor can prescribe medication to help or administer allergy shots based on your needs.
Coronavirus and Allergy Symptoms
It’s completely understandable in our current situation to wonder if symptoms that you’re experiencing may be due to the coronavirus instead of seasonal allergies. The first thing to remember is not to panic. Take a moment to breathe and record your symptoms on paper.
If you’re experiencing the symptoms listed above under the ‘spring allergies’ list, that’s most likely what you’ve got. However, if you have a combination of those accompanied by chest pains, fever, extreme fatigue or any other known coronavirus symptoms, it’s best to schedule a Telehealth appointment to discuss your concerns with a medical professional before coming in for a test.