Is it a cold — or hay fever?

May 23, 2019 | by Amish Doshi, MD
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

Your nose has been running for a week or two. You have a slight cough and itchy eyes.

It’s wearing you down, as if you have a cold. However, it has been going on for so long, you think that it can’t possibly be a cold. Or can it?

The symptoms of seasonal allergies can mimic a cold virus, causing some of us to question what’s really going on (and how to cure it).

Oddly enough, hay fever is actually a misnomer, as it has nothing to do with hay, or having a fever.

Instead, it is simply a common way to refer to seasonal allergies, whether in the spring or fall.

Symptoms of hay fever can include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Puffy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue

The following list provides suggestions for finding relief from seasonal allergies.

The best way to avoid allergic reactions is to avoid contact with the allergen! Of course, with seasonal allergies, that’s not always possible.

Try these non-medication techniques:

  • Stay indoors when pollen counts are at their peak and when it’s windy
  • Don’t use window fans that can pull pollens and mold into your house
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses while outdoors to lessen the amount of pollen that gets into your eyes
  • Wear a pollen mask while working in the yard — mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening
  • Don’t hang laundry outside to dry; pollen may cling to the fabric
  • Wash your clothes and take a shower (wash your hair too) after spending time outside to rinse off pollen

If this isn’t enough to help you feel better, there are some additional things you can try.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and which over-the-counter allergy medicines may work best for you.

If your allergies require something stronger than over-the-counter medication, there are a lot of prescription medications your doctor may recommend, from creams and sprays to oral medication and injections.

Dr. Amish Doshi is an internal medicine physician with Edward Medical Group and is accepting new patients in Naperville. View his profile and schedule an appointment online.

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