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Spring is the the air — are you excited? There is something magical about the season when everything turns green again, pops of color with the flowers blooming, and warmer days inviting you to stay outside. What is there not to love?
Well, if you have seasonal allergies you know it means — congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Season allergies are miserable.
So even if you are excited about Spring — the fact that allergies are a part of that may put a little cloud over the season for you.
And this year we are adding COVID-19 into the mix. Thankfully, people are getting vaccinated and we know more about this virus.
Last year at this time everything started to get shut down. Stay at home orders were put into place. And the time of the year everyone starts to go outside they were told to stay inside — at home.
So this year it will look different — thank goodness, right?
But here’s what you need to know to make it enjoyable for you and your family.
What Are Seasonal Allergies?
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology — “seasonal allergies, like other types of allergies, develop when the body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment, usually during spring, summer, or fall when certain plants pollinate.”
Symptoms of Seasonal Allergies Include:
Watery and Itchy Eyes
Post Nasal Drip
With COVID out there, it’s good to know the difference in the symptoms so you know what to look for.
What Are The Symptoms Of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID Include:
Shortness of Breath
Loss of Taste and Smell
As you can see both have respiratory symptoms like coughing and the wheezing from allergies can cause shortness of breath. But there are many differences too.
One of the main symptoms of COVID is the loss of taste and smell.
If you have this symptom and others listed it is best to stay home and call to get tested.
5 Things You Can Do To Help With Seasonal Allergies
Keep Windows and Doors Closed
Although its tempting to let that fresh air into your home — don’t. Opening windows and doors invites those pollens into your home to settle in your carpet and in your furniture making it more difficult for you to find comfort.
Make your home your haven where you find relief.
2. Shower When You Come in From Working Outside
After the cold winter months you may be excited about doing yard work and planting
your garden — and just being outside again.
If that is the case — do it! But when you come inside, shed your clothes and put them in the wash. Take a shower and wash your hair. Wash away the pollen dander that is stuck to you. This is just another way to keep your home your allergy free haven.
3. Use A Nasal Spray
Diana Polekhina on Unsplash
Nasal sprays like Nasacort, Flonase, or Afrin can be purchased over the counter. They reduce inflammation caused by allergies and can provide relief of nasal congestion. Helping you to breath comfortably.
Good RX put out a great article, Which Is the Better OTC Nasal Spray: Flonase, Nasacort, or Afrin?, explaining the differences between these nasal sprays.
As you find in the article, Nasacort and Flonase are used differently than Afrin so it is good to know what will work best for you and which ones to use if you are using them long term.
If you have questions about using a nasal spray contact your primary care physician so you can decide the option best for you.
4. Allergy Medicine
There are all sorts of over the counter allergy medicines. It may take a bit to find the best that works best for you. Make sure you are reading labels because if you have pre-existing health conditions some may not be good to use.
Once again, if you have questions — check with your primary care physician to determine the best option for you.
5. Wear Your Mask
So those pesky masks can help you out during this season! With COVID we should still be wearing masks while out and about. But you probably aren’t wearing them while you are at outside at home. But if your allergies are bad — try it out. You have it on hand. Just wear your mask while you are outside in the yard.
It will keep you from breathing in all of the allergens that are putting your immune system into high gear.
When you come inside make sure you wash the mask with the clothes you are wearing and shower.
You may be amazed at how something so simple can help so much.
Allergy Season can differ for everyone. For some it may be worse in the Spring, others Summer or Fall. For some it may be bad year round.
Keeping your home as your safe haven is so important. This last year has taught us that.
When looking at over the counter medicines if you have questions contact your doctor.
Most of us don’t want to do that because we know that they are most likely going to ask us to make an appointment and come in to talk. It’s not convenient.
The Direct Primary Care model is all about convenience.
You can call and talk directly with your doctor or simply message them to get the answers you are looking for.
So if you have a preexisting condition and would like to know about which allergy medicine to take — all you have to do is call or message them.
Or if you think you may have COVID — contact them so they can let you know the next steps.
What’s great — it’s all included in your monthly subscription fee. So you can contact them when you need them.
Also, if your allergy symptoms are really severe they can refer you for allergy testing.
Dimensions Direct Primary Care
Dr. Sheila Chen is a Board Certified Internist in Fairfax, Virginia. She owns and operates Dimensions Direct Primary Care so that her patients have access to healthcare when they need it.
For less than a cup of coffee per day you can have a Doctor that is working for you — not insurance.
You can have a doctor that you can call to ask simple questions. Like, “should I take this allergy medicine with this preexisting condition?”
It’s cost effective and convenient — not two words that normally are heard when talking about healthcare.