*Lifestyle and Family Editor, Denise Courter shares some insights and tips on seasonal allergies, just in time for the start of allergy season in NYC. To get the latest pollen count, visit resource such as weather.com for a 5-day forecast.
It is hard to believe that allergy season is upon us, but it’s true. Whether you live near the water, near the subway, or in the middle of New York City, there is no escaping the impending itchy eyes, sneezing, scratchy throat, runny nose and congestion that over 35 million Americans will face. As an allergy sufferer myself, and the Mom of a 6-year-old seasonal allergy sufferer, this is a challenging time of year. Luckily, we have the MinuteClinic® in our neighborhood for relief and guidance
As a child, I never suffered from allergies. It wasn’t until I moved from California to New York, that I began to feel all of the traditional allergy symptoms. But I had to learn the basics to understand how to manage seasonal allergies. Understanding what allergies are and demystifying the symptoms will help allergy suffers combat this seasonal challenge.
What is an allergy?
An allergy is the body’s hypersensitivity to substances in the environment. Mold, dust, pollen, pet dander, and even some foods can cause allergic reactions.
What causes seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies are a reaction to small airborne substances. These allergens are small proteins that usually float around in the spring, summer and fall.
Is it a springtime cold or allergies?
A cold will typically clear up pretty quickly, within 7-10 days. Allergies may last weeks or even months!
Colds vs. Allergies
Many people confuse the symptoms of spring allergies with a common cold. Here’s what you need to know about the two:
- 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.
- If you start sniffling and coughing at the same time each year and your symptoms come on suddenly, it may be allergies.
Parents need to know how to protect their families from allergies and the best way to get allergy relief. I know that the answers to these questions are critical to enjoying outdoor activities with my family.
1: How can I protect my family and myself?
Symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Nasal saline, decongestants and over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines may help relieve symptoms as well.
2: How do I get allergy relief?
There are plenty of options! At MinuteClinic®, the 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. The best way to treat allergies is to avoid the allergen – whatever it may be.
- Shake it off! Before coming inside, rid your clothes of pollen with a good shake.
- Did you know hair gel could be a pollen magnet? Skip the sticky stuff during allergy season for a little extra relief.
- Avoid window fans! While convenient, they tend to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores.
- Fall asleep on clean sheets. Wash your bedding every two weeks to help ease allergy symptoms.
Having access to health advocates and experts like the one’s at MinuteClinic® is convenient and reliable. If you haven’t stepped inside a MinuteClinic®, consider it during this year’s allergy season. To learn more, visit CVS’ MinuteClinic® page.
ABOUT: MinuteClinic® is the walk-in medical clinic inside select CVS/pharmacy®stores. They provide quality and convenient health care services 7 days a week — no appointment necessary. Most insurance plans accepted.
-by Denise Courter