The sun is out, and the flowers are blooming – spring is here. But with 45 million Americans suffering from seasonal allergies (sometimes called hay fever) annually, the transition from winter to spring can be brutal.
Sometimes it’s hard to identify what’s at the root of your discomfort. The reason? Seasonal allergies share similar symptoms with the common cold, making it hard to know what’s going on. Randall S. Cramer, DO, a family medicine doctor with Meritas Health Landmark at Tiffany Springs, offers his advice on telling the two conditions apart.
Hay fever is caused by various allergens. If you’re suffering in the spring, you’re probably reacting to the trees, grasses and weeds that are growing.
Grass and Weed Pollens
- Sweet vernal
Pollens can cause your eyes and nose to itch and your throat to scratch. The discomfort can span days or months.
Watch Dr. Cramer on Fox 4.
There are a few ways to treat seasonal allergies. Depending on the severity, a natural remedy may work. But if you’re experiencing continued discomfort, try an over-the-counter medication.
- Avoid exposure to allergen(s)
- Close doors/windows
- Put an allergy-certified filter in your home
- Reduce the humidity in your home
- Wear a mask
Talk with your physician if your allergies don’t respond to an environmental change or over-the-counter medication. At this point, a prescription-strength nasal spray or oral medication may help. If you have asthma, talk with your physician about which allergy treatment would safe and effective.
Related Reading: Stop Spring Allergies in Their Tracks
The Common Cold
Sneezing and an irritated throat are also symptoms of a common cold that could be mistaken for allergies.
- Runny nose with a thicker, colored mucus
- Sore throat
- Fever and body aches
Most cold symptoms respond to Tylenol®, cough syrups, hydration and/or rest.
When to Seek Help
If your symptoms persist for more than a couple weeks, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to discuss treatment options.