Have you noticed the sporadic warm weather lately? Because of this, spring allergies are going to be in full force this year. But, with COVID-19 still around, it can be confusing differentiating the two, especially since some symptoms may overlap.
It’s important to pay attention to the differences so you can learn how to combat the spring allergy season. At the same time, getting tested for COVID-19 it will help give you a peace of mind and rule out COVID-19.
What are the differences between COVID-19 and Spring allergies
Before we dive into the 7 ways to relieve spring allergies we want to make sure that you are aware of allergy symptoms first before jumping to conclusions when someone around you sneezes or coughs. Peace of mind is important these days. Chances are if you are experiencing the same symptoms around the same time each year it’s probably just allergies.
If you are not experiencing allergy symptoms, and instead are displaying COVID-19 symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever, a dry cough, diarrhea, or loss of taste and smell, then it’s time to get tested. We highly suggest that you test for COVID-19 regardless of if you have allergy symptoms or not. This way you can rule out COVID-19.
AFC Urgent Care New Britain offers Rapid and regular standard COVID-19 testing on a walk-in basis with no appointment needed. Even if you don’t have COVID-19 we can still treat you for allergies at our center.
In the meantime, here are 7 ways to manage spring allergies.
1. Limit pollen exposure to limit spring allergies
Stay indoors whenever possible, and stay in air conditioned rooms for as long as you can. We know it may seem obvious, but stay away from pollen!
2. Take medicine early to relieve spring allergies
If you have seasonal allergies, start taking your preferred medication (nasal antihistamines/steroids, oral antihistamines, or eye drops) two weeks before symptoms are likely to set in, says Clifford W. Bassett, M.D., Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York and AAFA ambassador. Once your nasal or airway passages are inflamed, it reduces the chances that medication will work. “If you take the right meds before symptoms are severe, they’ll work better,” he says.
If your main complaints are nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose, opt for a nasal spray. (Caveat: we caution patients to stop using nasal decongestant sprays after five days, since the spray irritates the lining of the nose and can exacerbate symptoms, causing a rebound runny nose.) If allergies typically make you feel itchy, try non-sedating oral antihistamines, such as loratadine (Claratin), fexofenadine (Allegra), or cetirizine (Zyrtec). And if your allergies make it hard to sleep, take Benedryl or Chlor-Trimetin, which are 100% sedation antihistamines.
3. Rinse your nasal passages regularly
No, really. As gross as it may sound, experts advocate rinsing your nasal passages daily using a “neti-pot”, during pollen season. Our providers believe nasal irrigation is especially important for people who are constantly headache ridden and stuffy. Rinsing with a salt water solution decreases inflammation in the sinuses. How does a saline rinse work? Nasal saline can dilute and rinse away pollen and molds that have traveled to your nasal passages.
4. Spring cleaning for your spring allergies
If you ever open your windows and doors, keep your shoes on in the house, or don’t strip down your clothes when you come inside, there is pollen in your home. So shoes off at the door! Aside from pollen, a lot of people are also allergic to dust mites and mold, which linger in homes as well, accumulating during the long winter months.
To reduce indoor allergen exposure:
- keep pets off the bed as dust mites are attracted to pet dander
- vacuum often
- set air conditioners to “recirculate”
- keep the windows closed
- and check for moisture, if you have a mold allergy.
Our providers say “A little bit of elbow grease goes a long way.” Same goes for your car. Dusting and vacuuming it often during pollen season, and especially getting down into those hard to get crevices is important. And, just like your in home air conditioner, running the AC on re-circulation can help keep those allergens out.
5. Natural remedies for spring allergies
Not a fan of conventional medication? The Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM), recommends patients take natural supplements like nettles and a plant pigment called quercetin to relieve allergy-induced runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and swelling.
Another strategy: Vitamin C. It’s a natural antihistamine, but it’s very gentle—taking 500-1000 mg., three times a day can help to reduce symptoms.
Additional natural aids like cayenne pepper and green tea sometimes help to reduce allergic reactions without OTC medication. If you suffer from cedar pollen allergies drinking a green tea called “Benifuuki” might be your best bet.
6. Reduce stress to reduce your allergies
In keeping with a holistic health strategy, many doctors believe you have to address underlying issues that may be exacerbating your allergic reactions. If you’ve battled hormone imbalance, chronic stress, or food sensitivities, addressing them could alleviate your allergy woes, as when we’re stressed, we’re more likely to have allergic responses. Research shows that when our cortisol levels are imbalanced, it affects the immune system. The more we can help them reduce stress (through yoga, meditation, getting enough sleep, etc.), we can decrease the chances of having allergic responses to the environment. A study published in the April 2014 issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) supports stress-reduction therapy, it found that allergy sufferers with persistent stress experience more allergy flares.
7. Shower immediately for allergy relief
This one is pretty straight forward, and surprisingly effective. Simply be sure to shower as soon as you come inside, and get those pollen ridden clothes right in the wash. This tip will prevent allergens from outdoors coming into your home.
Get ready for the allergy season
Having a rough allergy season? Here’s the good news: our providers at AFC New Britain are here to help relieve your suffering. Visit us, with no appointment needed 7 days a week from 8-8pm Mondays-Fridays, 8-5pm Saturdays and Sundays. We accept most insurances.
And as mentioned earlier, we have multiple COVID-19 testing options such as rapid tests and standard NAAT/PCR tests on a walk-in basis.
Always here for you on 135 E. Main St, New Britain.