GREENSBORO, N.C. — Are you enjoying springtime fun or suffering from seasonal allergies? Don't let spring allergy symptoms prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy. Dr. Joel Gallagher with Allergy and Asthma of NC joined us for 2 Your Well-Being.
Allergies vs. Colds
Gallagher said you can expect a runny nose, nasal congestion and sneezing with both allergies and the common cold.
He said fevers, fatigue and loss of smell and is more commonly associated with viral illnesses like the cold.
Gallagher said people can develop a cough with both. If you have an itchy throat or itchy eyes along with it, that's likely due to allergies.
Gallagher said most people can start with over-the-counter antihistamines like Allegra or Zyrtec. He said allergy causes the least amount of drowsiness if you tend to have that symptom with your allergy medicine.
Gallagher also recommended a neti pot or saline spray. He said they clear allergens from your nose, which helps alleviate symptoms. He warned you need to do it 2-3 times a day to get the full effect.
Gallagher said don't use plain tap water for the neti pots and opt for distilled water. He warned tap water caused actually cause brain-eating amoebas to form in rare cases when using as a nasal cleanser.
Decrease pollen exposure
Gallagher said decreasing exposure helps prevent your symptoms. He provided a few tricks to achieve that.
- Close windows, especially in the morning when pollen levels are high.
- Change your clothes after spending time outdoors, so you're not wearing stuff covered in allergens.
- Use a HEPA filter to remove pollen, dander and other irritants from your home.