Covid’s not gone, and spring allergies could hit hard
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (February 22, 2022) – Spring allergies are a tale as old as time – but the ferocity with which they land can sometimes pack a surprise punch for those who suffer with allergy symptoms.
“People still have Covid on their minds,” says allergist Mark Corbett, MD, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). “They might not be thinking about spring allergies, so symptoms could sneak up on them. One of the most important tools for battling spring allergies is to get ahead of symptoms. Begin taking your allergy medications two to three weeks before your itching and sneezing normally start to occur. And be aware that, thanks to climate change, symptoms may appear even earlier than normal.”
Below are five tips from ACAAI to help you prepare for the onslaught of this year’s spring allergy season.
1. Covid’s still a factor – As much as everyone wishes Covid were gone, it’s still present, and some Covid symptoms resemble allergy symptoms. Both Covid and allergies can involve a cough, fatigue, and headache. In addition, especially the Omicron variant can cause more nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, postnasal drainage, and symptoms of a sinus infection. Allergies, however, rarely involve a fever. If you think it might be Covid, get tested as soon as possible. If it’s not Covid and your symptoms have been dragging on for a while, consult an allergist who can do testing to see if you might be suffering from seasonal allergies.
2. Not all medications are equal – If you’ve used pseudoephedrine for your allergies in the past and found it to be effective, know that it has side effects. Pseudoephedrine is popular for helping to clear up congestion, particularly stuffy noses, but it is the main ingredient in methamphetamine – commonly known as “meth.” Pseudoephedrine has side effects including insomnia, loss of appetite, irritability, and heart palpitations, and should not be taken if you are pregnant. It is only available by prescription or by specially requesting it from a pharmacist, depending on what state you are in.
3. It’s worth it to identify your allergy triggers – Not everyone is allergic to the same things. So seasonal allergies can look different for different people. Know what your triggers are to treat them properly. The “launch” of the spring allergy season depends on where you live. That’s a reason to see your allergist to pinpoint when your symptoms might begin. Due to climate change, most of the southeast sees spring in January now. Talk to your allergist if over the counter medicines aren’t helping.
4. Take a deep breath – or not – As tempting as it is in spring to fling open your windows and take a breath of fresh air, if you are allergic to pollen, you’re better off keeping windows closed. Breezes and open windows can bring in unwanted pollen that can make your allergies flare. Use your air conditioning in both your home and in your car to keep pollen out of your environment.
5. See your allergist early in the season – Allergists are specially trained to help you get tested, get treated and get better. They have many tools in their arsenal to deal with symptoms, including immunotherapy. One of the best ways to target your allergens is through immunotherapy. Immunotherapy – allergy shots or tablets – is designed to target your exact triggers and can greatly reduce the severity of your symptoms. Allergy shots and tablets can also prevent the development of asthma in some children with seasonal allergies.
If you are suffering with nasal allergy symptoms and your regular treatments aren’t working, it’s time to see a board-certified allergist. They are specially trained to help you take control of your allergies and asthma, so you can live the life you want. Find an allergist in your area with the ACAAI allergist locator.
The ACAAI is a professional medical organization of more than 6,000 allergists-immunologists and allied health professionals, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill. The College fosters a culture of collaboration and congeniality in which its members work together and with others toward the common goals of patient care, education, advocacy, and research. ACAAI allergists are board-certified physicians trained to diagnose allergies and asthma, administer immunotherapy, and provide patients with the best treatment outcomes. For more information and to find relief, visit AllergyandAsthmaRelief.org. Join us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.