Sep 21, 2015

Fall Allergy Survival Tips from MinuteClinic

It's that wonderful time of year when the weather gets cooler and the leaves start changing colors. Ah fall, I love this season. But one thing about fall that I could live without is my seasonal allergies. Typically people associate seasonal allergies with spring, but there are more allergens in the fall. 

Nothing ruins the season changing quite like sneezing, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes. Thankfully there are ways to treat your allergies. I'm writing this post on behalf of MinuteClinic in exchange for a promotional item, all opinions are mine. 

Growing up I didn't have any allergies. Even after moving to a new city, I didn't have allergies. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's that I developed allergies. Only I had no clue that I had allergies, I thought I was getting sick from teaching. It wasn't until I went to my doctor after months of being miserable that I got the diagnosis. Did you know that an estimated 35 million American suffer from allergies and don't know it just like I did?

How can you tell the difference between a cold and allergies?

The main difference between a cold and allergies is that a cold is caused by a viral infection while allergy symptoms are caused by your body’s own immune system’s attempt to fight off an allergen.

  • Typically a cold lasts between 7-10 days. If your symptoms last longer than 10 days it's probably allergies. 
  • If you start sniffling and coughing at the same time year after year, and your symptoms come on suddenly, it may be allergies.
  • If you have a cough, it’s probably a cold. Most people with a cold will have a cough, but not everyone with allergies will have this symptom.
  • If you’re aching all over, it’s probably a cold, not allergies. Aches and pains are not symptoms of allergies.
  • Itchy eyes are a common symptom of allergies but RARELY occur with the common cold!
  • If you have a fever, it’s not allergies! A fever is sometimes present with a cold, but will never occur with allergies.

How can I protect my family and myself?

The best way to treat allergies is to avoid the allergen. Sadly this means spending more time indoors and not opening the windows to let the air in. While I love the feeling of having all the windows in my house open in the fall, I know it lets the allergens in my house. Keeping the windows closed will help while your allergies are flaring up. 

Fall is also the time of year when we start snuggling under blankets that have been stored away all summer. Make sure you wash your blankets before using them to get rid of dust mites. Clean and change air filters every three months to reduce the amount of dirt, debris, and allergens that you come in contact with everyday.

Allergy symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Nasal saline, decongestants and over the counter or prescription antihistamines may help relieve symptoms as well. At MinuteClinic, their nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate. If you’re diagnosed with allergies, medication may help relieve your symptoms. 

Personally, I know I get through the allergy season better if I start taking my allergy medicine before my allergies start. I watch the pollen count online to see when I need to start my medicine. 

Don't let seasonal allergies get you down. Visit your local MinuteClinic for allergy relief. 


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