Is It a Cold, or Is It Allergies?

Salt Lake City, UT — (ReleaseWire) — 03/21/2022 — Spring is here. And so are runny noses and itchy eyes. But is it a cold or is it allergies?

Dr. Scott Taylor from Intermountain Healthcare’s Southridge Allergy Clinic says if symptoms linger, it probably is allergies. “Seasonal allergies affect about eight percent of Americans over the age of 18. You just might be one of them.”

“Many people find relief during the cold winter, but spring brings symptoms back full force,” said Dr. Taylor.

Although everyone experiences seasonal allergies differently, Dr. Taylor says symptoms of seasonal allergies (hay fever) include:

– Itchy nose, throat, eyes, sinuses, or ear canals
– Runny or congested nose
– Sneezing
– Watery eyes
– Postnasal drip
– Ear congestion
– Dark circles under your eyes
– Headache
– Wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

The most common cause of allergies seasonally is pollen. Pollen floats through the air from a variety of plants. Pollen is nearly invisible to the eye, but these small particles can cause major problems.

“If you have allergies, your body’s immune system has produced antibodies, which tell allergy cells to release chemicals including histamine. This histamine can trigger things like a runny nose or itchy eyes and you may experience more allergy symptoms on windy days when pollen counts are high,” said Dr. Taylor.

Common pollens that can trigger hay fever include:

– Trees including birch, cottonwood, box elder, elm, maple, and oak.
– Grasses like Timothy, Johnson and Bermuda.
– Weeds such as ragweed, sagebrush, Russian thistle and plantain.

Dealing with seasonal allergies can be miserable experience. Thankfully, there are some options individuals can do to prevent and ease hay fever symptoms, including:

– Avoid going outdoors when pollen counts are high. You can check your local weather for pollen counts in the morning.
– Seal up your house. Keep your doors and windows shut.
– Replace the air filters on your furnace and air conditioner regularly.
– If you go outside for a long period of time, wash your hair when you come inside. This can help to clear out pollen and other allergens.
– Keep your house vacuumed and dusted regularly. Wear a mask while you vacuum or dust to protect yourself from allergens that get thrown into the air while cleaning.

“Beyond basic prevention, there are also things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of your springtime allergies,” said Dr. Taylor. Over the counter medications such as antihistamines can help reduce sneezing, itching, and congestion. “You may also find relief with nasal sprays, particularly the corticosteroid sprays, that can help decongest or ease inflammation. In addition, antihistamine eye drops may also help relieve itchy or watery eyes.”

“It’s a good idea to discuss your springtime allergies with your doctor,” said Dr. Taylor. “They can recommend both over-the-counter and prescription medications that will help you feel better. If symptoms are severe enough, consider seeing an allergist who can do allergy testing and discuss a more targeted approach, including allergy immunotherapy, commonly referred to as allergy shots.”

To find out more information or to find an allergist in Utah, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/allergy-immunology.

C. Scott Taylor, MD, is a practicing physician with Intermountain Medical Group and Intermountain Healthcare’s Southridge Allergy Clinic, who specializes in allergy and immunology care.

About Intermountain Healthcare
Located in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, Intermountain Healthcare is a nonprofit system of 25 hospitals, 225 clinics, the Intermountain Medical Group with some 2,700 employed physicians and advanced care practitioners, a health plans division called SelectHealth, Homecare, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.

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Media Relations Contact

Lance Madigan
Media Relations
Intermountain Heallthcare
Telephone: 1-801-442-3217
Email: Click to Email Lance Madigan
Web: https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/allergy-immunology/