Spring is here in New York City, and so are allergies! The temperature and humidity changes that come with spring contribute immensely to allergy and/or asthma symptoms. As we are in full spring mode or “allergy season,” as some may call it, the doctors at UrgentWay have put together some information to help you survive the season.
Allergies, or the Common Cold?
Many times, allergies and colds are mistaken for each other because they have common symptoms such as congestion and cough. Allergies never bring aches, pains, or a fever, so if you’ve got those symptoms, chances are you are fighting a virus. Instead, typical allergy symptoms involve a runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes and throat, and sneezing.
Allergies can last for weeks depending on the pollen and ragweed levels, whereas a common cold normally lasts for 5 to 10 days and is often accompanied with aches and pains, sore throat, and/or a fever.
Allergies aren’t caused by a virus; rather, they are unpleasant body responses to tree pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, or mold. (New York is a top pollen hot spot and is primarily high in tree pollen.) Allergies can also be unpleasant responses to certain foods or products for some people.
If you suffer from allergies, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends that you see a doctor. At UrgentWay, we provide allergy testing, which helps you understand exactly what’s causing your symptoms, and we can also provide recommendations and medication to help you manage your symptoms.
Recommended Treatments for Allergies
There are several helpful ways to treat allergies. A few over-the-counter allergy treatments include oral antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra. Nasal spray and eye drops are also recommended over-the-counter options to relieve allergies by washing allergens away from the affected areas.
A few other recommendations include:
- Checking the pollen count daily (pollen counts are usually highest in the morning).
- Staying indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are high.
- Cleaning your air conditioner and furnace filters regularly to prevent pollen from circulating inside your home.
- Keep your windows and doors closed.
- Using the air conditioner instead of rolling down the windows in the car.
- Washing your linens frequently.
When to see a doctor?
If your allergies last longer than normal or if they begin to cause a respiratory illness, give us a call at one of our UrgentWay clinics.
What about Asthma?
Asthma is a disease that causes inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Symptoms include tightness of the chest (sometimes chest pain), shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing. Allergies can often trigger asthma by irritating the airways in the lungs.
Asthma is becoming more and more common. WebMD reports that an estimated 25 million people in the U.S. have asthma, including both adults and children.
Many of those diagnosed with asthma use controlled inhalers, which prevent flare-ups most of the time. Inhalers should only be used once every 12 hours. A second type of inhaler patients may use is a relief inhaler, also known as a rescue inhaler. This is used when an asthma attack is occurring and will bring the patient back to normal breathing.
When to see a doctor?
If you think you have asthma, you should see a doctor. We can confirm your diagnosis and provide you with the appropriate care regimen to control your asthma symptoms. If asthma becomes severe it can become life-threatening, so don’t wait.
Need an Appointment?
The common cold, allergies, and asthma all can have similar symptoms. If you feel you need to be treated by a doctor or if you are not sure whether your symptoms are caused by a virus, allergens, or airway irritation, be sure to give us a call and make an appointment, or just walk in. We have convenient locations throughout New York City, as well as Telehealth appointments.
Spring is a wonderful time in New York City … we’ll help you feel better soon so you can enjoy it!