The flowering trees are gorgeous but the tree pollen counts combined with windy days makes for some seriously miserable allergy symptoms. Pass the tissue, please! Here in New Jersey, we’ve already started into the allergy season month and many residents have been feeling the effects for weeks…and it’s more than just a sneeze and itchy eyes. In fact, 55 percent of employees report calling in sick to work because of their allergies.
Understand the Difference: Spring Allergies or Common Cold
Understanding the differences between a common cold and environmental allergies will help you choose the best treatment. Unlike allergies, the common cold is caused by a virus, while allergy symptoms are a result of immune system responses to allergens like pollen, dust, or even pet dander. With more than 50 million Americans suffering from allergies and more than 1 billion colds every year, how do you tell the difference between the two?
It can be tough to spot. But the best way to make a distinction between the two is the duration of the symptoms. A cold will typically last no more than 10 days, while allergies can affect people for months on end. If you experience persistent mild, cold-like symptoms that are unaccompanied by a fever, it might be allergies. And colds may cause aches and pains, symptoms usually not associated with allergies.
Many patients dealing with allergies also suffer from asthma, as these two conditions commonly occur together. But thankfully, you can find a little relief during the allergy season months with a few simple tips.
Spring Cleaning Goes a Long Way
Cleaning everything in your home, including your washing machine, can help to manage allergies but don’t use a feather duster. While you should be dusting every week, a dry rag…or worse, a feather duster, is worse than not dusting at all. Use a wet cloth to trap the dust instead of sending it into the air.
We’re talking about green plants here. NASA research has suggested that some houseplants, like the corn plant (also known as the mass cane), may help to clean the air of contaminants such as formaldehyde—an irritant that can make you more sensitive to allergens. Plants may even help to remove particles from the air: One study showed that in a small office, they reduced dust by up to 20 percent! But keep an eye out for rotten leaves that can be a sign of overwatering to keep mold away.
Try to stay indoors when the pollen counts are high and keep your windows closed at night and if possible, use air conditioning, which cleans, cools and dries the air. Also, when you’re in the car, keep your windows closed to prevent pollen from coming in. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a plastic bubble, but if you limit the time you’re around your triggers, it should help lighten your symptoms.
Use a Pillow Cover
Dust mites are one of the most common causes of year-round allergies, and given that their favorite food is human and pet skin cells, it’s no surprise that they thrive in beds. To fight these little critters, get an allergen-proof encasing for your pillows, comforters, mattresses and box springs.
eMedical Urgent Care Walk-In Clinic
eMedical Urgent Care can help you differentiate the cause of your symptoms if you are unsure or have never experienced allergy symptoms before. Our emergency medicine physicians provide urgent medical care to both adults and children with convenient hours designed to fit your busy schedule. Learn more about our services and how we can treat you and your family by calling our location in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey (908) 464-6700, or Middletown, New Jersey (732) 957-0707.