Are you one of the 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies? According to Cathie-Ann Lippman, MD, from Los Angeles, Calif., people who are genetically predisposed to inhalant allergies suffer the most during the spring months when most plants are growing and blooming and the volume of allergenic particles (pollens) is at its maximum.
So, what plants should you look out for? Dr. Lippman noted that trees, grasses, weeds and flowers can all cause allergic symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the United States, and a frequent complaint in urgent care offices. Common medical conditions resulting from seasonal allergies include hay fever, allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, hives and dermatitis (eczema).
As a parent how can you tell if your child is dealing with the common cold or seasonal allergies? Dr. Lippman noted, “It may be very difficult to differentiate between a cold and allergies.” A doctor at your local urgent care office should be able to help you determine which you are suffering from. Some of the differences include:
- A cold should last no longer than two weeks, while allergies can last for months.
- Colds more commonly occur in the winter, while allergies can occur any time of the year.
- One symptom of a cold may be fever and with allergies no fever is present.
- Colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies.
Common symptoms of seasonal allergies include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes and nose
You may have seen the daily pollen count report on the news or even have had a notification from a weather app appear on your phone, but what exactly do these pollen counts mean? According to Dr. Lippman, “The pollen count measures the number of allergenic pollen particles in the air in gram per cubic meter.” The website, Pollen.com notes that, “Pollen counts are measured from low, meaning they affect few individuals, to high, meaning symptoms affect most allergy sufferers.” By checking the pollen counts in your area, allergy sufferers can see if there are any special environmental factors that may make their allergies worse.
Did you know that you can develop allergies into your adulthood? Dr. Lippman asserted, “This can happen especially if a person has a mild genetic propensity to allergies and their immune system becomes depleted, making them more vulnerable to manifesting the allergies.” It may seem like more and more people are developing allergies. Dr. Lippman noted that this increase may be caused by a number of different things, including:
- The environment becoming more toxic
- People not being as healthy in general due to lack of nourishment
- Many people’s immune systems becoming depleted due to medications
While allergies cannot generally be prevented, the CDC suggests avoiding contact with the certain allergens that may be causing you problems. If your seasonal allergies leave you feeling miserable, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAI) suggests setting up an appointment with an allergist/immunologist. “An allergist will have the background and experience to determine which allergies, if any, are causing your symptoms,” notes AAAI.
AAAI also suggests following some of these precautionary tips to alleviate symptoms:
- Keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air.
- Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high.
- When traveling by car, keep your windows closed.
- Take any medications as prescribed.
If you need medical attention for a non-life-threatening illness or injury, eMedical Urgent Care offices are open during the evening hours to treat walk-in patients. If you have questions about medical conditions, download iTriage from the iTunes or Android Marketplace, or check out iTriageHealth.com for your healthcare answers.