Seasonal Allergies Amid a Pandemic

flowers that cause seasonal allergies

As the coronavirus spreads through the US, it can be a scary time to feel sick. Waking up with even a slight scratch in your throat might make you question your condition. But with spring flowers and plants beginning to bloom, remember not to rule out the simple explanation of seasonal allergies. Below, we offer some guidance on how to assess your symptoms, and ways to distinguish seasonal allergies from coronavirus.

Consider your personal history of seasonal allergies.

Do you experience allergy symptoms every year? What do they feel like? If you’re suffering those same, familiar symptoms, there’s likely no reason to worry. After a warm winter, spring allergies have arrived a bit early and might be sending you into that sneezing fit.

Seasonal allergies are sometimes called “hay fever” or seasonal allergic rhinitis. They occur when our body’s immune system mistakes a harmless, everyday substance –such as pollen or mold-spores–as a danger. As part of its immune response, the body releases histamines to fight off the perceived threat. This histamine reaction leads to symptoms of coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat.

You can successfully treat allergies with over-the-counter medications called antihistamines (e.g. Benadryl, Claritin). These medications block the body’s histamine-producing response and help to reduce symptoms. In general, allergy medications are very effective, but they will not make an impact if your symptoms are due to a viral illness such as flu or COVID-19. Keep this in mind, and consult a medical professional if your condition does not improve with traditional treatment.

Know the Symptoms.

As WHO outlines, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Since fevers are not generally associated with seasonal allergies, this symptom is a good indicator that something else is going on. Call our clinic if you or a loved one is concerned about a fever. We can help determine the best course of action.

Another way to differentiate seasonal allergies from the novel coronavirus is the severity of your fatigue. While allergy symptoms can certainly leave you feeling a bit rundown, the fatigue seen in individuals infected by COVID-19 is much more extreme.

We are here for you during this uncertain time.

We hope this information provides you with a helpful starting point to assess your symptoms and eases anxieties surrounding spring allergies and coronavirus. Pay attention to changes in your health and call us when you need care.

What to do if your child has sustained a concussion

kids playing football at risk of concussion

A concussion can happen at any age, and as a parent, it’s important for you to know the signs and symptoms. A child might suffer a concussion during a simple fall, a sports activity, or a car accident. Any direct blow to the head, face, or neck or elsewhere on the body with an “impulsive” force that jars the head can cause this type of brain injury.

If your child has sustained a concussion, they might exhibit behavior changes and specific signs, such as:

  • dizziness
  • balance problems
  • double or blurry vision
  • sensitivity to light and noise
  • looking like they’re daydreaming
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble remembering
  • confused or forgetful about recent events
  • slow to answer questions
  • mood changes — irritable, sad, emotional, nervous
  • drowsiness
  • difficulty sleeping or change in sleep patterns

Concussions temporarily affect brain function and require time to heal. It’s important for a child to rest from school, activities, and sports until symptoms subside. Another blow to the head while the initial concussion is healing can result in permanent brain damage. Adhere to the saying, “when in doubt, sit it out” to prevent repeated concussions.

When to see a doctor:

Always err on the safe side in regards to a brain injury! It’s a good idea to get a bump on the head checked out.

As long as your little one did not experience a loss of consciousness, nausea or vomiting as a result of head injury, our urgent care center is a good place to seek care. We can perform quick diagnostics and determine the appropriate level of care.

Walk into our clinic today! We offer fast, affordable treatment for concussions.

When to seek emergency treatment:

Call 911 or head straight to the emergency room for any head injury associated with a loss of consciousness, seizures, neck pain, vomiting or numbness, prolonged confusion or amnesia, or weakness in arms or legs.

What is the Kissing Disease?

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s a good time to discuss infectious mononucleosis, often called “mono” or “the kissing disease.”

young couple about to kiss - kissing disease mono

This contagious disease is usually caused by the Epstein-barr virus. It is spread through saliva which means you can get it through kissing, hence the nickname. You can also be exposed to the virus through a cough or sneeze, or by sharing drinks, food, or personal items with someone who has mono.

Infectious mononucleosis is most prevalent in teens, young adults, and college students. Most older adults have been exposed to the Epstein-barr virus at some point in their life and have built up the necessary antibodies to be immune.

Symptoms of mono develop slowly, appearing about 4 to 8 weeks after you’re infected. Mono is difficult to differentiate from other common viruses such as the flu.

Symptoms include:

  • extreme fatigue
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • head and body aches
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
  • swollen liver or spleen or both
  • rash

If you or your child are experiencing any of the above symptoms for longer than a week, head into our clinic. Symptoms may not occur all at the same time.

Our medical team will perform a physical exam, review your symptoms, and look for signs such as swollen lymph nodes, tonsils, liver or spleen. A provider can typically diagnose infectious mononucleosis based on symptoms, but if additional confirmation is needed, he or she may request blood tests, such as antibody tests or white blood cell count.

If your symptoms are indeed due to Mono, we can outline an appropriate treatment plan to help you feel better sooner. Most cases of mono are mild and will resolve on their own within 1-2 months. Drinking fluids to stay hydrated, getting plenty of rest, and taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever can help ease symptoms.

Walk into our clinic today for fast, affordable mono treatment and advice.

When To Worry About Fever in Adults

fevers in adults

A fever is a temporary rise in body temperature, and a sign that your body is battling an illness or infection. There is generally no cause for concern, but certain situations warrant a trip to the doctor– or even the emergency room. Learn when it’s time to seek treatment.

Normal body temperature ranges from 97°F to 99°F. If your core body temperature rises above this, you may have a fever. Additional signs and symptoms include sweating, chills, shivering, headache, and muscle aches. Loss of appetite, irritability, dehydration and general weakness are also common.

When and Where To Seek Treatment

Most fevers go away on their own within a few hours to days as your body beats the infection. If your fever lasts longer than 3 days, it’s important to see a doctor. A recurrent fever, however slight, may be a sign of a more serious condition. An urgent care center is a quick, convenient place to seek treatment for mild fevers.

Head into our clinic if your fever…

  • Is higher than 102°F
  • Lasts more than 3 days
  • Continues to worsen and will not break
  • Is accompanied by:
    • Discomfort
    • Ear pain
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Sore throat

Our friendly medical team will perform a physical exam, and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. The provider may order blood tests or a chest X-ray, as needed, to determine the cause of your fever. If your fever is due to a bacterial infection, we can prescribe antibiotics for treatment. Walk in today for fast, affordable care. No appointment necessary.

When to Seek Emergency Care

Head to the ER or call an ambulance for fevers with the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Skin rash
  • Unusual sensitivity to bright light
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing or chest pain
  • Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
  • Convulsions or seizures

How To Use Antibiotics Responsibly

Antibiotics are life-saving drugs that treat bacterial infections and prevent serious complications of disease. Unfortunately, these medications are becoming increasingly ineffective due to a phenomenon called antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces, or totally eliminates, the effectiveness of the medication designed to kill them. Bacteria will naturally develop resistance, but the misuse and overuse of antibiotics are speeding up the process at a concerning rate.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are difficult to treat and lead to an array of healthcare issues, including more serious illnesses, longer recovery times, more frequent or longer hospitalizations, more doctor visits, and more expensive treatments. According to the Mayo Clinic, “approximately 2 million infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria occur in the United States each year, resulting in 23,000 deaths.” These are some scary statistics, but there are steps we can all take as individuals to help prevent antibiotic resistance.

Use antibiotics responsibly:

  • If you’re suffering from a viral illness, antibiotics won’t cure the infection or help you feel better. Talk to your doctor about other medications that will be effective and beneficial for your recovery.
  • Take prescribed antibiotics exactly as directed. It’s critical to complete the full course of medication, even if you start to feel better. If even one bacterium survives an antibiotic treatment, it can multiply and pass on its resistant properties.
  • Never take leftover antibiotics for a later illness. It may not be the appropriate antibiotic, and it won’t be a complete course.
  • Preventing infection altogether can also help reduce antibiotic use and resistance. Practice good hygiene and follow food safety guidelines.
  • While viral Upper Respiratory Infections tend to have more severe symptoms and last longer than an average ‘cold’, antibiotics are not the answer. The medication will be ineffective and will also kill off good gut bacteria that are important to your health! It’s best to let your immune system do the work. Please follow your doctors’ advice and communicate if signs and symptoms get much worse.