Spring is a time to look forward––to warm weather, green setting in, flowers blooming. But with spring comes the one ugly word that dampens the season: allergies.
Allergies come with the annoyances of sneezing, coughs, inflammation, and the “allergy salute.” (A title my grandmother gave to the wiping and sneezing motions we make when constantly wiping away the sniffles from our noses.)
The CDC estimates more than 50 million Americans deal with nasal allergies every year, making it kind of a big deal. And while these seasonal sneezes sweep over the country, it’s best to arm yourself with tips and tricks for how to combat them.
We took the time to tackle some more common allergy questions as we approach the spring season––and how your telemedicine benefits can help you conquer them:
What are Allergies, Actually?
An allergy is an immune system response to something that’s not normally harmful to the body. The foreign substance that causes the response is called an allergen. Your immune system’s job is to protect your body from these substances. Common spring allergens are grass, pollen, ragweed, and even mold.
Allergic reactions in this context can range from a sniffly nose to full-blown hay fever that knocks you out for weeks. Because of this, a common misconception is that you have a cold. They feel similar at first, and allergies can arrive before spring has actually sprung.
While millions suffer from nasal allergies, a small portion of those actually suffer from chronic sinus infections. Most people can’t tell the difference. So if you feel like you’re constantly battling a sniffly nose or a long spring sinus infection, you might just have allergies.
Should I Take My Seasonal Allergies Seriously?
Come spring, your immune system is acclimating to your environment––and when your body is exposed to spring flowers and other allergens, it reacts poorly. When seasonal allergies strike, you’ll likely be hit with watery, itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat, and coughs.
Don’t let your allergies stop the joy of spring. If your daily routine is suffering, it’s time to take those allergies seriously. They don’t have to interfere with your life this much, and with a few preventive measures and helpful practices, you can definitely get them under control.
How Do I Stop My Runny Nose?
Daily maintenance (like rinsing with a neti pot) helps prevent spring allergies from getting worse when the time comes. Your nasal cavities will be cleaner, healthier and stronger to fight off pesky allergens.
Antihistamines and corticosteroids block your body’s strong reactions to allergens so that they can help relieve the symptoms.
Lastly, air filters purify the space where you spend a lot of your time (like your bedroom or the office). If the air around you is clear and free of the pollen and ragweed that make you sneezy, your immune system won’t need to fight so hard!
Combat Spring Allergies With Your Telemedicine Benefits
You might be allergic to pollen, but don’t be allergic to the phone. Use your telemedicine benefit to get you feeling better with a diagnosis and treatment plan! But remember: It’s important to act before spring has really arrived. Many solutions can actually prevent seasonal allergies (or at least worsen them) if you act before your immune system jumps into overdrive. And untreated sinus irritations can turn into serious infections, so it’s best to get to the root cause before you’re under the weather for the whole season.
If you need an antihistamine, your telehealth physician can recommend OTC remedies for any specific symptoms. But if you do require a prescription––they can do that for you, too.
Allergies are a pain, but they don’t have to slow you down. Battling your allergies is all about being proactive––so use your telemedicine benefit to help you beat your runny nose and seasonal allergies before they put you on the sidelines and help you do the allergy salute a little bit less this season!