With the overlap of flu season, springtime allergies and the spread of COVID-19, it may be difficult to determine if your symptoms are typical for this time of year or signs of something more serious.
Knowing the difference between allergies and coronavirus can put your mind at ease and help you determine next steps. Despite your diagnosis, it is recommended that you practice social distancing and good hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading illness.
What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms
If you have upper respiratory symptoms (cough, fever or shortness of breath) and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call first before visiting a hospital, clinic or urgent care. You can also use our Virtual Care services to determine if you need to visit a specific site for testing.
What to do if you have allergy symptoms
It’s not easy to avoid going outside where allergens lurk, but there are some simple ways you can reduce your exposure:
- Stay indoors, especially important on dry, windy days. The best time to enjoy the great outdoors is after a cleansing rain clears pollen from the air.
- Leave allergens outside. When you enter your home, immediately remove the clothes you've worn outside. Keep a designated hamper and clean robe near the door, and shower to rinse off pollen from your hair and skin.
- Avoid yardwork. Working in the garden around common allergens can spark symptoms. Play it safe and delegate gardening chores and other outdoor tasks.
- Don't hang laundry outside. Pollen sticks on sheets and towels. That means it could end up on you and cause an allergic flareup.
- Make it a habit to check the pollen count. Symptoms will likely spike on days when the pollen count is high. Adjust your plans and avoid outdoor activity on “red-alert” days, especially in the early morning when pollen counts are at their highest.
How do you treat seasonal allergies?
When avoiding triggers isn’t enough, your nearby Immediate Clinic can help. A provider will evaluate your symptoms and determine the best way to treat your allergies. There are a number of options:
- Antihistamines, such as include Allegra, Benadryl and Zyrtec, block your immune system from releasing histamines, which are the chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
- Decongestant pills or nasal spray help relieve sinus congestion by shrinking swollen nasal membranes.
- Nasal corticosteroids such as Nasacort, Flonase and Rhinocort, decrease the number of allergy-activated immune cells in your nasal passages and reduce inflammation in your nose. These medications have proven effective in controlling and treating seasonal and year-round allergies.
- Allergy injections may also be an option, depending on the severity of your allergies. Small doses of the specific substance that triggers your allergic reaction helps decrease your sensitivity and can be an effective long-term solution.
Immediate Clinic is open every day, 8 am to 8 pm, to treat your minor illnesses and injuries. We are taking extra precautions to help keep you safe when you visit one of our clinics. Find a location near you.